June 03, 2021

Uncontrolled use of social media can lead to mental health issues. Research has shown that most depression cases are caused by excessive exposure to social media.

It’s saddening that these depression cases are mostly affecting teenagers and young adults who spend most of their time on these sites. Even though there isn't a direct link between social media and depression, we can only point out the effects on victims and how to mitigate them.

What is depression?

Depression can simply be defined as a mood disorder coupled with excess feelings of sadness. It is accompanied by an individual losing interest in things they loved doing.

Depression affects a person’s way of making decisions, concentration and sleep patterns. People suffering from depression also experience unexplainable anxiety occasionally thinking about suicide and death. 

How does social media cause depression?

Countless research studies have been done on the link between social media and depression. The following are the main reasons behind social-media-induced depression.

1. Feeling isolated

Though social media can help a lot in building friendships that last long, one can develop feelings of FOMO. FOMO stands for "fear of missing out."

When you see people getting close together, you will end up feeling lonely, alienated, envy and a feeling that you have been left out.

You feel like you are in the outside facing the inside life and you fear trying the inside life to avoid embarrassing yourself. Only controlled use of social media will help people escape the feelings of isolation.

2. Doom scrolling

There is a growing misconception in today’s generation of thinking that they can control whatever happens by knowing everything. This sends people to aimlessly scroll on social media sites reading garbage.

Reading too much news can be both sad and disheartening thus leading one into depression. Watching more news than what you need might cause hopelessness which is a major symptom of depression. Pay attention only to the necessary news.

3. Sleep Deficiency

Most people spend long hours on networking sites. In the end, they waste all their sleeping time. Unfortunately, these sites are very addictive and it becomes so hard to stop once you begin scrolling. So, you end up wasting all your sleeping hours on social media. This lack of enough sleep will strain you and ultimately bring you down.

4. Cyber bullying

There is an increased rate of people using false usernames on social media sites. These people send insults and troll others. Without a thick skin, such incidences can easily lead to depression. These people cannot be traced as they hide behind their false identities. So, the only way to avoid such experiences is by being careful about who you interact with on all networking sites.

5. Comparing your life

You can easily start comparing yourself with the people you follow on social media. Most people portray different lifestyles on social media from the one they live. If you fall for the life they share on their accounts, you might be tempted to catch up or be like them. Copying other people's lives is the easiest route to depression.

Safe ways of using social media

Though social media causes depression, it does not mean that you should completely do away with it as it has its benefits. To be on the safe side, below are some of the things you can do;

  • Consider using social media with moderation.
  • You can download an app that helps one track the time spent on networking site. If you realize you are spending too much time, try to reduce it.
  • Engage in activities that will keep you away from social media like reading books and magazines.
  • Take your hobbies seriously. 

When you take quality time away from social media, your mind will relax and leave you more productive. This will in turn keep depression away or suppress any feelings of depression you might be experiencing.


From the above information, it's clear that social media can cause depression when abused. Too much social media usage can expose you to a high risk in mental disorder issues. Psychologists and mental health professionals advise people to limit the time they spend on social media. Love yourself. Keep depression at bay by following the professional’s advice. 

You can ensure that you don’t abuse social media by keeping yourself on check. Every time you realize you are spending too much time on a site, note it and aim at cutting it down. You can also refocus your energy on the things that matter to you.