Facebook is now a leading cause of depression!
I had a long chat with my pal Michael the other day and he noted how we are all “just trying to outdo each other on Facebok.” In fact, it is a feature on his Okay Cupid dating profile.
I had no idea just how far the whole need-to-be-online-and-updating is taking a load on our collective mental health.
Sitting with my therapist a couple of weeks ago we hit on the topic of Facebook addiction. Yes, this is what costs me $90 an hour on the regular!
She put it to me like this…
Andrea: “Lara, have you checked in with yourself lately? How much time are you spending on Facebook versus actually meeting your goals?”
Me: “Ahem. Well…there is an awesome local music online mag I am writing for! But you are right Ms. A. Too much time on the Facebook!”
So as it turns out Ms. A’s warning regarding my Facebook use is quite warranted. The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (the go-to reference for white coats) includes criteria linking constant Facebook use to symptoms of depression.
Indeed we have all been warned about technology and the dangers of “instant gratification” and addiction.
Just check out the whole Jian Ghomeshi fiasco.
I spoke with Mike Bullard of News Talk 1010 on air recently about the whole scandal. He posed to me a hypothetical. If I had met him or Jian on Facebook, would I feel safe to meet up with them for coffee all by my lonesome?
Honestly? I would be totally tempted. Especially if there had been a back and forth between us for a period of time. But Ms. L knows better these days, and I took the opportunity while on air to express how all of us (not just ladies) need to use caution when meeting up with someone (famous or not) for the first time!
At the very least tell a besty where and when you will be meeting your Facebook “crush”.
Now back to bizness.
Speaking with Dr. Danielle Bourdeau (CAMH’s staff psychiatrist of mood and anxiety disorders), she sees a lot of the negatives and positives Facebook has on her clients.
Dr. Bourdeau breaks down the effects of so-called Facebook depression according to latest research from U.S. and Finland:
- Checking in regularly throughout the day is correlated with decreased self-esteem and a lowered mood.
- Also this need for instant cheers from your own cheering crowd of acquaintances, etc. has made us narcissists.
However Bourdeau says it is important to know that, according to DSM criteria, the effects relate to a psychological phenomena – not a clinical depression.
So are we doomed if we keep Facebook a daily part of our lives?
With the power of the ‘net, at no other time have we let friends, even virtual strangers into our lives, homes, families and jobs. Sharing some pretty intimate stuff. Kind of like living vicariously through our Sims back in the day.
I do have friends who refuse to Facebook, even avoiding a professional LinkedIn portfolio to avoid the constant You may know… so and so. It is a little like having to attend your high-school reunion every day. And truthfully I respect their decline to get caught up in the virtual world.
But Facebook I still love you! I have made friends from all over the world and kept up with the ones close by – but I try to keep my circle tight (you won’t find 500+ friends over here!).
I still adore the baby photos, being able to cheer my friends on with their success and keep your failures in my heart. So yeah, for now Facebook works for me. I just wish we all had the time to change Facebook into Face-to-Face.