Social Media Use Causes Depression And Suicide It’s A Surprisingly Difficult Question To Answer
How does frequent social media use impact our mental health? A recent study attempted to pinpoint the effects of spending hours on Twitter and Facebook, but the inherent difficulty in analyzing human behavior limits our ability to find a precise answer.
It was a problem for years. First thing in the morning, I would shut off my phone alarm, open the Twitter app and begin scrolling through my timeline before reluctantly getting out of bed to be productive. Throughout the day, social media discretely consumed inordinate amounts of my time before I decided to make some changes, and the chances are good that I’m not alone in the struggle to limit my Twitter use. According to a recent survey, Americans spend between five and six hours on their mobile phones, 145 minutes of which is dedicated to social media.
With so many people spending so much time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest, researchers have grown curious about how these apps affect our well-being, and studies exploring the issue have proliferated in recent years. The results are decidedly mixed, with some papers showing that heavy social media use is linked to higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation and others suggesting that these effects are likely exaggerated.
I now keep my phone out of sight when I’m not using it to avoid mindless scrolling. I also uninstalled the mobile apps.
More People Using Social Media Since The Pandemic
The pandemic has changed the way we work, eat, shop, and use social media. The average American spent 65 minutes a day on social media in 2020, a nearly 20 percent increase from the year before, according to Statista, a market research company. The most preferred social media platform for COVID-19 updates was Facebook.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression have been higher since the start of the pandemic as well. During August 2020 to February 2021, the percent of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4 to 41.5 percent, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Implications For Public Health
When asked how these findings should influence public health, Ms. Makin said: For one, limits for the amount of social media that one consumes should be set. This can be easily done by going into your settings on your , so once you have reached your limit for the day, you can no longer access the app.
Likewise, research may need to be done to determine what is an appropriate amount of time to spend on social media where it makes us feel good but does not cause us to become fixated on the lives of others and cause feelings of depression. It may also be helpful to suggest changes about the way that we interact and react on social media with others. Teenagers and adolescents who have social media accounts may need to be monitored more closely to make sure they are not victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying, she added.
However, Dr. Sewall believes these findings should not influence public health recommendations, given the flimsy evidence:
If the hope is to help people improve their well-being during these very difficult times, I believe it would be a waste of time and resources to focus on peoples use. much better to focus on some of the myriad other issues that have been impacted by the pandemic like financial security.
Dr. Fisher agreed that these findings should not directly influence public health recommendations, at least not in an extreme way.
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Is Social Media Making My Depression And Anxiety Worse
If youre worried that social media usage is making you depressed or anxious, it may be helpful to keep a mood journal.
Jotting down your mood at consistent intervals throughout the day is a simple and powerful tool for identifying triggers for negative feelings. Note when and for how long you were using each social network will help you identify if your mood worsens or improves after using social media, and which platform affect you the most.
There are many mood charts and journals available online, here are two to get you started:
From Black Dog Institute, this free Daily Mood Chart is a simple and effective way to track your mood on a scale of 1-10. Adding your comments about medications, activities, exercise, food intake, and social media usage can help you track your progress.
If daily mood tracking is too much for you, you can try tracking your mood on a weekly basis. Similar to the daily mood chart, you will rate your mood using scales and note major events as well as high energy and low energy symptoms.
Social Media Use Tied To Increase Of Depressive Symptoms In Adults
In younger adults, Facebook use was associated with greatest risk for depression.
This year has brought an increased awareness about the potential harm that social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok can have on teens mental health.
A Facebook whistleblowers testimony before Congress and leaked internal documents detailed the increased risks for poor self-esteem, disordered eating, and suicidal thoughts in some young people using the apps.
Now new research suggests that social media use may impact mental health in adults as well. Researchers found that social media platforms, including Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok, were associated with an increased likelihood of depressive symptoms in adults who didnt initially report depression.
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Limit The Number Of Social Media Platforms You Use
The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed Dr. Brian Primack, professor of public health and medicine and dean of the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas, who noted that the a higher number of platforms that an individual user accesses on any given week is associated with higher rates of depression and negative outcomes.
An important takeaway here is that by simply reducing the number of social media platforms you use, you may help mitigate the negative effects.
Using Lots Of Social Media Sites Raises Depression Risk
A national survey by Pitt’s Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health found that use of multiple social media platforms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults than the total amount of time they spend on social media.
The analysis, published online and scheduled for the April print issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior, showed that people who report using seven to 11 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than their peers who use no more than two platforms, even after adjusting for the total time spent on social media overall.
This association is strong enough that clinicians could consider asking their patients with depression and anxiety about multiple platform use and counseling them that this use may be related to their symptoms, said lead author Brian A. Primack, MD, PhD, assistant vice chancellor for health and society in Pitts Schools of the Health Sciences and the center’s director. While we cant tell from this study whether depressed and anxious people seek out multiple platforms or whether something about using multiple platforms can lead to depression and anxiety, in either case the results are potentially valuable.
Primack, who also is a professor of medicine at Pitt, emphasized that the directionality of the association is unclear.
Primack and his team propose several hypotheses as to why multi-platform social media use may drive depression and anxiety:
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Social Media Use Linked To Depression In Adults
While social media has been widely linked to anxiety and depression in teenagers, new evidence suggests that platforms such as TikTok and Instagram can leave middle-aged adults feeling sad, too.
The research, published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open, is based on a series of surveys of 5,395 adults whose average age was 56.
The surveys, conducted from May 2020 through May this year, began as a way for researchers to learn more about how adults were coping throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over time, researchers increasingly became interested in whether social media use might be linked to changes in mental health.
Why Social Media May Contribute To Depression
While social media doesn’t directly cause depression, it fuels emotions and activities that can. From “doom scrolling” to a lack of physical activity, this is how social media may activate depressive symptoms.
Feelings of isolation: Social media can help cultivate a sense of community and lead to lasting friendships, but it can also cause FOMO, aka “fear of missing out.”
“You are watching other people be together, which can enhance feelings of loneliness, envy, feeling left out, and alienated,” says Gail Saltz, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine. “It creates the feeling that you are on the outside looking in, can’t participate, can’t measure up, and would embarrass yourself if you tried.”
A large 2019 study studied the effects of social media on perceived social isolation in students aged 18 to 30 years old. Researchers found that each 10% increase in self-described negative experiences on social media enhanced feelings of isolation by 13%.
Conversely, a 10% increase in self-described positive experiences on social media did not make people feel any less isolated. Therefore, even though people can have positive experiences on social media, they do not necessarily alleviate the negative feelings of isolation.
“Sleep deprivation can increase anxiety and worsen mood,” says Saltz. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that lack of sleep may induce or exacerbate depression.
Read Also: What Not To Say To A Depressed Person
Ways How Social Media Causes Depression And What You Can Do About It
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- Post last modified:June 5, 2020
Social media today is one of the top cause of depression and a couple of other mental illness like anxiety disorders due to its increased usage by a lot of people especially teens whereby the majority of them own smartphones which they use for social networking
Despite all the good things and advantages of social media, leading to mental illness is one of the bad sides and major disadvantages of social media
When was the last time you checked any of your friendâs Facebook or Instagram account and they posted something bad happening in their lives?
For some reasons itâs always the good things happening in their lives that are posted. Itâs always the success that someone achieves that ends up on social media accounts
And when things go wrong no one ever posts that as people deal with difficulties privately without posting it on any social media accounts.
And even when someone posts something bad happening in their lives, the attention some people receive is different from what others receive and if you compare that to your own self, you are very much likely to feel bad
This article at looks at how social media is impacting our minds mentally leading depression plus also showing how social media is linked to depression and what you can do about it.
Some of the symptoms of depression include
Is Social Media Making Me Depressed
If you feel stressed, depressed or anxious after scrolling on your phone, there may be good reason why. The type of media youre consuming, and which social media platforms youre using may be affecting your mood.
Recent news coverage has been full of studies examining the link between social media usage and increased depression, anger, and anxiety. But what are researchers actually learning about how Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are affecting people? And what can you do if you think social media is making you depressed?
Read Also: How Long For Depression To Go Away
What Type Of Depression Does Social Media Cause
Social media isnt inherently harmful to your mental health, especially if it doesnt replace other forms of healthy social interaction. However, exposure to harmful behavior and rhetoric through social media can impact your mood and even cause depressive symptoms.
For example, toxic positivity can be harmful.
Belonging to social media communities that demand good vibes only can cause you to repress any unwanted distressing feelings, potentially contributing to symptoms of depression. In these circles, you may feel unwelcome if youre experiencing challenges or you, or think others, believe, youre not working hard enough to overcome them.
Toxic positivity can also influence how you view your real life. You may feel pressured to only share joyful posts and pictures of your life, ignoring the entire spectrum of your naturally occurring joyful and difficult experiences.
Bullying online can also have a real-world impact on your mental health.
A 2019 study involving university students in the United Arab Emirates showed an increase in bullying online, while another recent study explored the link between cyberbullying and depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder.
explored the links between adolescents using social media and other mood disorders like depression.
Social media also has health benefits. However, it will largely depend on:
- how you use social media
- what youre looking to get out of it
- any pre-existing mental health conditions that could be affected
The Search For Relevance And Attention On Social Media
You might have come across social media posts about peopleâs personal lives that shouldnât really be posted as they donât really concern anyone reading it in any way but they are attention-seeking in a way that makes you compare yourself to what someone posted
For example, some posts how they found all first class seats in plane sold out, or how someoneâs salary was reduced from 20000 dollars to 10000 dollars when you have never even touched that figure in your life
Even though that could true or exaggerated, you are going to compare yourself to what that person posted if itâs better than yours and you are likely to end depressed
But if this person lost the job, they would actually not post anything to do with their unemployment as thatâs something looked down on in society.
This also shows you why people only post their success on social media and deal with their failures privately
In another instance if you post an attention seeking post on social media and everyone ignores it then you are definitely go to feel bad that no one has time to care for you
Read Also: Should I Talk About My Depression
The Facts On Social Media And Depression
- Social media has never been more popular, with more than half of the world’s population active on these networking sites that roll out nonstop news, much of it negative.
- A Lancet study publbished in 2018 found that people who check Facebook late at night were more likely to feel depressed and unhappy.
- Another 2018 study found that the less time people spend on social media, the less symptoms of depression and loneliness they felt.
- A 2015 study found that Facebook users who felt envy while on the networking site were more likely to develop symptoms of depression.
Whats Causing The Uptick
Researchers discounted the idea that finances could be driving the change, noting that unemployment in the United States was dropping at the same time mood disorders were becoming more common.
In the same vein, other studies show that young people arent using more drugs and alcohol, so substance use isnt a likely explanation, according to the researchers report.
But the ever-increasing popularity of electronic devices and digital media could be at least partly to blame, the study said.
The researchers noted that smartphones became dominant around the same time that the incidence of adolescent depression surged.
By fall 2012, 66 percent of young adults owned one of these mini-computers and more Americans overall had a smartphone than a traditional mobile device, according to the Pew Research Center.
Other research has shown a connection between using a smartphone at bedtime and inadequate sleep a typical characteristic of depression.
Among other things, mobile phone screens emit a type of light that tricks the brain into thinking its morning.
Studies have also found a link between the amount of face-to-face social interaction people have and how happy they are.
Theresa Nguyen, vice president of policy and programs of the advocacy organization Mental Health America, offers some theories why.
As a gateway to social media, smartphones not only are a tool for cyberbullying but can lead to distorted thinking, she added.
Also Check: How To Recover From Severe Depression
Social Media Screen Time Linked To Depression In Teens Study Says
Experts recommend parents engage with their kids about their online activities.
News headlines today: Dec. 23, 2020
For today’s youth, taking a selfie is like second nature. But their connections with social media may be skewing their view of their world.
Being a teenager is tough already — is too much screen time making it tougher?
A new study shows frequent social media use and television viewing is linked to depression in teens.
Previous research has revealed increased rates of depression among teenagers, but researchers at the University of Montreal wanted to determine whether increased screen time could help explain the rise.
“If screen time changes and you see depression changing, you can begin to start considering whether it is a causal relationship,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Patricia Conrod, said in an interview with ABC News.
Researchers followed almost 4,000 Canadians aged 12 to 16 over four years. Every year, students completed a survey about the amount of time they’d spent in front of digital screens and the specific type of activity they had engaged in — social media, television, video-gaming or computer use. Surveys also asked them to self-score their depressive symptoms.
Over the course of four years, as little as a one-hour annual increase in social media or television viewing was associated with more severe depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem.
Here are their recommendations for parents: