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how is social media linked to depression/anxiety?
26 Apr 2021
by sharon

how is social media linked to depression/anxiety?

Social media has never been more popular than it is today. We thought we’d take a look at the potential impact that it’s having on mental health. Firstly, we’ll provide you with some insight into the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Secondly, we’ll look at how social media can contribute to these symptoms.

what is depression?

Depression is a common mental health problem that causes people to have a loss of interest/pleasure, low self worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, low mood and poor concentration. There are many symptoms that vary among people.

These can include:

  • Tiredness and loss of energy
  • Sadness that doesn’t go away
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable of interesting
  • Feeling anxious all the time
  • Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

what is anxiety?

Anxiety is a nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks.  It is normal to feel anxious or worried in certain situations. However, if a continuous feeling of anxiety impacts your ability to carry out life as normal, you could have an anxiety disorder.

There are many symptoms that vary among people.

These can include:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling irritable
  • Uncontrollable over thinking
  • Feeling of dread, panic or impending doom 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Heightened alertness 

how social media plays a role in depression and anxiety?

Due to the uptake of social media and its role in the lives of people of all ages, there is more and more research being done into its impact. 

A 2018 University of Pennsylvania study found that the less time people spend on social media, the less symptoms of depression and loneliness they felt. This study indicates a casual relationship between lower social media use and emotional wellbeing. A lancet study also found that people who check facebook late at night were more likely to feel depressed and unhappy.

Recent studies have shown that higher amounts of screen time are associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression. The idea that anxious people tend to gravitate to social media as a form of escape from their worries. It is unclear if there is direct correlation between social media and depression. Whereas, some research finds that social may very well be the cause of depression.

how taking a techtimeout can help?

Taking part in our techtimeout10 challenge has had a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of many people who have taken part.

This 10 day challenge requires you to take regular breaks from your smartphone and to use that time experiencing the benefits of truly disconnecting. The goal after the 10 day is to keep techtimeout as a regular habit in your routine.

Depression| Mental Health Foundation

What is anxiety? - Mental Health UK (mentalhealth-uk.org)

The Link Between Social Media and Depression (verywellmind.com)

Anxiety and Social Media Use | Psychology Today