Excessive exposure to social media can lead to depression as negative emotions pile up in scurrilous arguments and pressures to run with the herd.
Prof. Myung Woo-jae at Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang said, "Social media affect our emotions, and those who are less capable of controlling their emotions are especially affected. If negative feelings intensify, it can lead to depression."
The causes include pressure and unrealistic expectations from interaction with others, a sense of coming off worse in comparison with others, and overindulgence. Prof. Kim Sun-mi at Chungang University Hospital in Seoul, said, "A desire to be recognized drives people to constantly update their social media accounts or respond to others' messages. If the response is not recognition but anything more negative, people can feel dejected or depressed."
Instagram is a notorious producer of envy at the seemingly more perfect lives of others. People with gloomy temperament can be particularly impacted by this. And posting too much and feeling a constant need to post can also lead to a feeling of emptiness.
To fight depression, it is not a good idea to cut off all social media activities abruptly, because that could simply transfer the obsession to TV or online games, according to Kim. Instead, doctors recommend gradually reducing usage.
"If you're on social media late at night, it could intensify your depression. It's better to do it during the day when it's less likely to impact your sleep," Myung said.
The busier people keep during the day, the less time they have to waste on social media. It is also a good idea not to get involved in debates that invariably lead nowhere, and even better to ignore all comments to teach yourself indifference. If you approach use of social media as a means of recording your own daily life, don't expect too much of a response from others.
Better still is finding a different hobby that will decrease time spent on social media. But if you continue to have trouble falling asleep and cannot get negative thoughts out of your head, see a doctor.