Is your Facebook feed making you feel depressed?
If you’re left feeling like your life isn’t that great, or if you’re even a bit tired, you’re not alone. A new study shows that excessive Facebook use can lead to loneliness, depression, and even poor sleep quality in some cases.
How Can Facebook Cause Depression?
The whole idea of social media is to get people to interact and even be happy, but that’s not always the outcome.
Amy Morin, psychotherapist, best-selling author, and editor-in-chief of Verywell Mind, tells Parentology that moms may look at other families on Facebook and think they’re happier or look at other women and think they’re more attractive.
“Looking at images and hearing stories about how well others are doing may cause them to question their own lives,” says Morin.
Morin explains that there is research to show that comparing yourself to other people and getting jealous of what they portray on social media is directly linked to depression. There are also many mom groups on social media that are supposed to offer support but instead end up being judgmental, leaving many mothers feeling worthless.
The study found that people who were addicted to Facebook and said they were lonely, also reported the highest risk of depression. On the flip side, those who didn’t spend as much time on Facebook and weren’t as lonely had the lowest risk of depression.
According to the study, people can become addicted to Facebook just like they can become addicted to drugs and alcohol. When people are addicted to social media and spend so much time on it, they begin to neglect other areas of their lives. If moms are looking for an escape from the stress of parenthood, they may find themselves falling into this pattern.
When people are addicted to substances, they get a rush that makes them feel good for a short amount of time. The same can happen for women who turn to Facebook or other social media apps. Morin explains that when women get positive feedback on a post or a photo, they also get a dopamine rush.
Social Media, Depression, and Poor Sleep
People in this study who used Facebook frequently also slept less and had poor sleep quality. But, researchers are not sure if this was directly linked to Facebook and social media use or if the blue light from their devices played a role. Blue light is known to affect circadian rhythm and sleep quality. Although there wasn’t a direct link, moms are still advised to keep track of their social media use and see how it impacts their sleep.
While moms often turn to Facebook for social interaction, there are healthier alternatives, especially since too much Facebook use can lead to loneliness — the exact opposite of what social media is trying to accomplish.
“Talking to friends on the phone, reading a book, going for a walk, or writing in a journal are all positive alternatives to using social media,” says Morin.
Although social media takes less effort than meeting other moms in person, the outcomes may be more rewarding and less detrimental to a woman’s health.