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Social media use and depression: a case of causation?

social media and depression

For decades now, there has been a lingering debate on the relationship between social media use and depression. Young adults with higher social media use tend to be more depressed. But a new study has found something disproving the idea that social media use causes depression.

It is not that social media use causes depression. It's that people who are depressed tend to use social media more.

And this isn’t hard to imagine. People living with depression do not typically derive pleasure in going out, seeing nature, exercising, or indulging in other healthy activities. As such, it's convenient that they'll spend more time swiping their screens.

This ties well with previous research about active and passive social media use. People who use social media heavily but activity usually do not suffer from depression. But heavy, passive users tend to be more depressed.

So technically, heavy social media use doesn't inherently cause depression among young people. There are other factors at play such as how it's used (actively or passively) and whether the individual is scrolling excessively because they have nothing else enjoyable or healthy they could do.

Also, spending all day on social media creates less time to hang out with friends, work out, or see nature. These activities can all help ward off depression. In the absence of social connection and healthy habits, depression symptoms can thrive.

It all comes down to living a healthy lifestyle.

More on the research here.

If you're currently battling with depression and feel like nothing makes any sense, we’d like to help you.

Hope Mental Health provides depression care and other mental health services in Boise & Meridian, Idaho, SLC & the Wasatch Front, Utah, OR, AZ, NV, WA & FL.

Contact us now.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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