Social media platforms, justifiably have positives attached to their adoption. Such platforms are favoured for their accessibility, their connectivity and their viral communication capabilities.
However, with such an invasive and now habit-like position, there are also negatives to social media, from comparison effects on teens to the development of mental health issues in adults.
Trolling, unrealistic ideologies, excessive comparison, disengagement and the 24/7 culture of social media are all consequences, are all negative accumulations and are all feeding the mental health crisis.
Many will argue that social media, as an independent stimulus will fail to amount to depression, anxiety and further mental health problems.
Yet, identified as a clear catalyst, the contents and structure of social networking sites are seen to create vulnerabilities, causing low and disengaging moods and outlooks.
Down to the constant place that social media has in the lives of younger generations, it’s imperative to consider the true underlying impacts of a former means of communication.
Now turned into a viral community of influencers, keyboard warriors and means of perfection, here’s some insight into ‘can social media cause depression?’.
If you’re personally struggling with depression, whether in association with social media consumption or not, at Asana Lodge, we’re here for you.
The negative landscape of social media
Like anything in life, there are positives and negatives to social media consumption. However, the negative landscape is gaining the greatest focus, down to its contributing effects on the amounting mental health crisis.
Such negativity is predominantly found within the platforms mass demographic of younger adults and teens, where a means of communication has exploded into a pressurised, constantly active, toxic channel.
We’re unfortunately seeing false pictures of reality, causing heightened levels of habitual comparison behaviours. Such content has been found to increase eating disorders, body dysmorphia and compulsive comparison conditions.
Trolling is also a negative result of mass social media usage, which has increased online bullying, suicidal risks and depressive episodes.
Some will argue that social media has provided viral connectivity, which in turn, it has. Yet, down to its addictive traits, isolation has been noted as one of the downfalls of excessive social media consumption, within normal offline reality.
Just from brushing over the common negatives of social media, it’s clear to see how contributing to such platforms is on teen depression. Yet here’s greater insight on ‘can social media cause depression?’.
Can social media cause depression?
Social media itself is a highly influential stimulus. It’s turned our smartphones even smarter, amounting to semi-additive behaviours for the majority of users.
Whether that’s down to consistent scrolling, ongoing check-ins, regular engagement or personal positing, its structure has created a 24/7 global community.
While there are benefits to this community, there are also pressures, which are highly associated with psychological instability and poor mental health.
Impacts such as unrealistic ideologies, the development of strong online but poor offline relationships, heightened levels of comparison, and online bullying are all causes of depression and mental health issues, facilitated over social media platforms.
In some instances, pre-existing vulnerabilities will be present. For example, someone with poor interpersonal skills may already be struggling from loneliness, which once combined with the artificial community of social media, can increase the risks of depression.
A further example focuses on body dysmorphia insecurities, which are now very common. Paired with the superficial and heavily edited world of social media, it’s easy to see how depression and further conditions can develop from paired stimuli.
Alone, social media consumption can however influence such vulnerabilities, down to the fake reality that it induces.
It differentiates those who are identified as beautiful from an ideology perspective, it highlights those who are influential, those who are popular and those who are successful.
The structures of social media and the flexibility that such platforms have had has created such trends, caught on by users.
Who has the most followers, who have the most likes, who carry the greatest influence all comes from the culture of social media, changing priorities, outlooks and relationships?
To answer, ‘can social media cause depression?’, it’s clear to see that for some, it can be leading causation, and for others, it can be a motivation, where social media has been missed or misinterpreted.
This is a clear worry within the younger generational age group, as this is a time to find oneself, becoming aware of mental health and also a pressurised moment.
Combined with the negatives of social media, if misused, if the addictive traits are fed into, yes it can cause depression one way or another.
Cleaning up social media
As one of the causes of depression, it’s vital that change is aimed for. This may have to be a personal aim, yet many organisations and technology companies are working to offer advice surrounding safe and sensible social media consumption.
To motivate mass change, cleaning up social media will be necessary. If you’re struggling with social media effects, you can clean up your platforms by disassociating yourself with triggers, negativity, and accounts that carry little value to your activity.
Taking control of your feed, of your screen time and of your boundaries is possible, to also manage symptoms of depression.
Such management is highly recommended to curb risks of depression, while also managing pre-existing mental health worries.
Sourcing mental health support and treatment
Social media will not induce depression for every user. There are commonly internal and external stimuli that will need to be present to increase vulnerabilities. However, for those who do suffer, depression can be life-limiting.
Here’s where support and treatment for depression will be encouraged, to work through exposure therapy, uncover underlying vulnerabilities and manage symptoms of depression.
At Asana Lodge, we offer such treatment services to alleviate the suffering of depression for our clients.
In truth, to answer ‘can social media cause depression?’, yes it can. Its addictive, pressurising and compulsive traits are found to organically decrease self-esteem, change outlooks and deter healthy relationships.
Down to this, greater regulation is required, along with self-management. Manage your mental health and symptoms of depression by maintaining a positive social media feed, along with partaking in suitable treatment.
Please remember that support, helplines and resources are available to help you through depression.
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