Spending more time on social media ups anxiety and depression risk, says study

Spending more time on social media ups anxiety and depression risk, says study

Social media can be described as a New Age addiction, especially after the penetration of smart phones and tablets across masses and classes, thanks to the digital revolution that has made these devices affordable and accessible like never before.

Social media has brought the world together by enabling the users to communicate beyond local or social boundaries. It has opened a completely new world of possibilities by allowing sharing of user-generated content, like photos, videos and their expressions.

According to a survey published in Statista, 68.3 percent internet users in 2016 had access to social media and the number is growing rapidly. The report estimates that there would be around 2.67 billion social media users in the world by 2018, up by around 20 percent, from 1.91 billion in 2014.

North America is found to host the highest number of social media users, with 59 percent inhabitants already being a part of the social media. Over three quarters of the U.S. population already had a social media profile in 2016. Overall, the social media users in the United States access social media via smartphone for 216 minutes per week while other devices PC and tablets serves the purpose for 53 and 50 weekly minutes respectively.

Social media addiction may give you hard time

Like any other addiction, overuse of social media has its hazards too. A recent study, published in the Computers in Human Behavior in December 2016, highlighted a possible association between spending long hours on social media and experiencing mental health problems.

The research by the University of Pittsburgh Center said that young adults who use multiple social media platforms have a greater risk of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

The analysis suggested that people who reported to have accessed maximum social media platforms (i.e. seven out of the 11 reviewed) have three times more chance of depression and anxiety over the people who had accessed the minimum (zero to two) platforms.

“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 physician Brian A. Primack, Ph.D.

Primack added that the possible link between social media and mental illness could be the fact that people using multiple social media platforms are into multitasking that is associated with poor attention, cognition and mood.

Another point of view

A recent review by psychologists at the Lancaster University also established a correlation between social media usage and depression. The 2016 analysis suggested that users spending time on social media have higher risk of suffering from depression if they:

– are envious of others’ social media posts,

– are obsessed over their virtual identity,

– have former partners as their social media friends; and

– posted most often on social media, with negative status updates dominating their posts.

The review has something positive also to offer. It underlined that social media platforms helped improve users’ mental health by enriching their social support networks. They emphasized on the need of using the social media in a positive way.

Seeking treatment for anxiety

The online interaction defines the risks and benefits associated with social media use. One should be careful about certain things while using social media platforms. Decreasing the screen time can be the most important piece of advice. Simply put, spending less time on social media can be the first line of defense against depression and anxiety related to social media exposure.

If you or your loved one is struggling with anxiety, contact the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California for help. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 or chat online for any queries pertaining to anxiety disorders treatment centers in California.

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