Have you been feeling a little blue lately? Well, if you use Facebook heavily, that may be why. Recently, an extensive study of users in Poland found that excessive Facebook surfing is linked to mental illness such as depression, sexual dysfunction and a variety of other, more serious, addictions. The researchers even coined a term for such use, calling it "Facebook intrusion."
Facebook intrusion occurs when you spend enough time on the site that it interferes with your daily activities, personal relationships and routines. This type of addiction is now well-documented and can possibly be the reason why there has been a jump in depression diagnoses over the last 10 years. So next time you find yourself staring blankly at your Facebook screen, put it down and take a walk. It might save your sanity!
The study was conducted with over 600 participants, the average age being 28. The researchers found people that used Facebook heavily are more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression than people who use the site moderately. They also found that young males are more likely to suffer from Internet-based depression than any other group.
Online depression partially stems from the constant need to compare oneself to the events, pictures and news being uploaded daily from Facebook "friends." Introverts are also drawn to this kind of depression due to their overall lack of social skills. They turn to the Internet as a way to create a fictitious online persona, often making up details about their life that are nowhere close to the truth. The false sense of personal interaction is also a factor that plays into Facebook depression.
Some symptoms of Facebook depression are a constant urge to fiddle with your profile, crippling anxiety if you don't update your status at least four times a day and if you have created a separate profile for your furry friend. Having a large number of Facebook friends also indicates a Facebook addiction. If you've never met at least half of your friend group then you need to consider the possibility that you are addicted to Facebook.
If this sounds like you, check the amount of time you spend surfing around on Facebook. If it seems excessive then take steps to actively cut down on the amount of time you spend on the site. Depression can be warded off with doing easy things like walking for 30 minutes, getting more sleep, playing with animals and forcing yourself to smile more.
Facebook is aware of the issue and is taking steps to fix the problem. Click here for my article on how Facebook is fighting suicide itself.