Facebook addiction is helping already depressed to get even more depressed

Overusing Facebook can cause an increase in depression severity and lessen a person’s self-confidence. A study done by Computers in Human Behaviour gave evidence to this claim.

There’s been a lot of controversy regarding the harmful effects of social media apps and websites such as Facebook on a person’s mental health in a lot of scientific articles. There've been claims that the more time you spend browsing on Facebook, the more depressed you become. This claim has gained so much notoriety that some have started to call it ‘Facebook depression,’ which means depression acquired from the overuse of the Facebook app.

It’s not the time spent on Facebook that’s harmful, it’s the addictive use of it that may result in depression. Soon Li Lee said in their study that Facebook depression might be linked to two possible reasons, dependency and self-criticism.

There has been an increase in reliance on technology in the past decade which has come to a point where we need technology to effectively live our lives. This makes it important to understand how much effect this technology has on our lives both mentally and physically. Moreover, those of us already suffering from a mental disease have to be studied even more carefully.

Two surveys were conducted where 250 users who were diagnosed with clinical depression were examined for dependency and self-criticism over time for using Facebook. The first survey was conducted at the start of the study and the second was conducted at the end.

Participants with more addictive use of Facebook reported a higher severity of depression in the study. Moreover, the relationship between the individual and Facebook was reliant on self-criticism and dependency on the app.

Findings also suggest that monitoring the use of Facebook in individuals who are already depressed will increase the severity of their depression. Facebook use can be beneficial to users if the use is balanced and the results are dependent on the quality of Facebook use.

Some particular types of use such as finding support online actually benefited users whereas addictive use harmed mental health and increased the severity of depression among the participants.

Addictive Facebook use is also directly related to the severity of depression six months later. But the dependency and self-criticism were not affected in this period. This means that these aren’t interlinked and are therefore a contradiction as stated by Lee.

In the study, the researchers found that addicted people were more inclined to answer their social contacts for acceptance. This results in them getting depressed over their sense of rejection or magnifying their problems. This affects their self-worth and can cause depression.

The data regarding Facebook addiction, depression, and depression severity was mostly stable but the research is limited due to the time and the fact that only two studies were conducted.

No concrete conclusion can be made from this study but it would be useful to compare it to a study done with healthy individuals put under the same conditions.

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