Social Media and Depression

“Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.”

~ Dr. Melissa G. Hunt, PhD, Associate Director of Clinical Training, Psychology Department, University of Pennsylvania, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology (December 2018)

Most people use social media platforms like to Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook to connect with other “friends” around the world.  While the idea is that these digital friendships preserve connections that might otherwise be lost, new research has found a possible to causal link between increased social media use and decreased mental well-being.

During the three-week study, researchers divided 18-22year-old participants into two groups:

  • The control group used their social media accounts normally, with no changes.
  • The experimental group were instructed to limit their social media use to 10 minutes per platform per day.

At the end of the three weeks, the researchers measured such outcomes as loneliness, depression, anxiety, and the fear of “missing out”. They found that the group that limited their social media use were less depressed and lonely than the group that carried on as normal.

This positive result was even more pronounced among those participants who were depressed at the initial evaluation.

Why Might this Be the Case?

Researchers theorize that part of the reason is the social comparison that goes on. Because people tend to post the best aspects of their life, viewers may feel that their own lives don’t quite measure up. As Dr. Hunt says, “When you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.”

And then there is the simple fact that online friendships are not viable substitutes for real, flesh-and-blood connections. “In general, I would say put your phone down and be with the people in your life,” Dr. Hunt concludes.

What Does this Mean to YOU?

It’s not realistic to totally eliminate social media from our lives. These tools are here to stay. But what we can and should do is maintain a proper perspective and focus most of our energy and time on nurturing the truer relationships with those closest to us.

This is a useful strategy for maintaining good mental health.

And for people in recovery from substance abuse , this can be a crucial decision, because loneliness and depression can lead to elapse.

If you need help for depression, anxiety, drug addiction, or alcoholism, Lasting Recovery outpatient rehab in San Diego is an award-winning program that can be the trusted resource you need.

To get the support you need to deal with these issues, contact Lasting Recovery TODAY.

Lasting Recovery—“Where Wellness Begins…”