“D” is for Depression and Social Media

Welcome to my 2016 A to Z series on how to establish a meaningful minimum for social media as part of a balanced life. Over the next 26 days, I’ll take a quick look at  some of the pluses and minuses of social media and how to adapt it to your own needs and plans.

IMG_6885.JPGSocial media and depression have a complex relationship.

On the plus side, social media can relieve isolation and provide opportunities for mutual support.

On the other hand, depression has been linked to social media, and the number of hours a person spends on social media is strongly correlated with depression, though it remains unclear if people with depression seek more social media time or if too much social media makes people depressed.

As someone successfully managing depression without medication or therapy (don’t get me wrong, I’ve done those things before and would again as needed), I’m always on the lookout for signs I’ve strayed into a habit which undermines my overall attempts to main good mental health. As I’ve learned more about the way depression and social media interact, I find myself taking steps to move away from social media and for longer periods of time. Just like alcohol, isolation, and negative self-talk, social media is on my watch-list of things which can trip me up.

Here are two key things to consider if you are depressed or have a history of depression and use social media on a regular basis:

  1. Should you decide to reduce your use of social media, take it slowly. Once in place as a means of social support, it can be harmful to quit social media cold turkey. Even moderate reductions (such as one-day social media fasts) are associated with withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Be careful where you engage, opting for places where you know people or where the group norms are polite and supportive. Leave groups and interactions which contribute to a sense of isolation or worthlessness or negativity.

For more information on how depression and social media are linked, check out this short article.

To visit other blogs in the A to Z Challenge, go here: