A study 1 published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression2 . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.
Social Media Could Lead to Depression
Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression3 worse explains4 the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.
Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”
If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:
• low self-esteem,
• negative self-talk,
• a low mood,
• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,
• and social withdrawal.
If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study5 published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.
Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem
We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.6, social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially…
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