09-29 | Rachael
For most people, the internet has become a medium to escape from the stresses and strains of reality. Be it shopping, gaming, chatting or social networking, the internet has gradually superseded the concept of face-to-face interactions with virtual conversations. In fact, whenever a person feels lonely, depressed, lost, overwhelmed or stressed, he or she prefers being online than spending quality time with family and friends. As a result, the internet has become the only friend to hang out with for many people.
Gone are the days when people would share their problems and miseries with their fellow mates and seek a solution together to address the challenge. However, people now prefer turning to the internet to seek solutions even for the mildest problem like a headache. Consequently, people are spending a major chunk of their time on the net than with family and friends. In fact, overindulgence in the internet can turn into a compulsive behavior that can induce serious mental health problems.
The increasing reliance on the internet has substituted several activities that were once carried outside the computer screen. This has decreased the scope of interaction and socialization with people. The psychologists from the Leeds University of England have highlighted that people who spend a lot of time online are more likely to exhibit signs of depression.
From the perspective of the involvement of people, the study emphasized that the virtual society has replaced the actual social functions. Such a major shift in the society has become the primary cause of psychological disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, etc. In fact, it also leads to an addiction to substances.
Many people turn to the internet for all kinds of problems not because of depression, but due to their reluctance to talk to their peers. In the case of others, lack of motivation and emotional support compel them to befriend Internet over real-life friends. Whatsoever, it often becomes difficult to decipher what came first, whether Internet addiction that fueled depression or depression that persuaded one to seek solace in the virtual world.
Catriona Morrison, lead author of the study, explained that moderate to severe depression may arise in people addicted to the internet. One develops Internet addiction due to the excessive use of computer, social networking sites (SNSs), etc. that may disturb one’s normal functioning. People who develop an internet addiction spend more time browsing through pornographic sites, surfing gaming sites, chatting over social media and online forums, etc. This kind of addiction can cause serious impact on one’s health, both physically and mentally.
Another study by Stanford University highlighted that excessive indulgence in internet can estrange a person from the real world. This is because people who remain glued to their computer screens are less likely to spend time with their family and friends or engage in outdoor social activities. This loss of connection with the outer world and increased face time with a glowing screen are considered as the key reasons behind the increased depression rates among teenagers and adolescents.
As mentioned above, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, insecurity, fear of rejection, and lack of care from others are some of the integral factors that can play a pivotal role in influencing one toward the internet. However, Internet, in turn, degrades the users’ mental condition in the long run. The above relationship between internet addiction and mental issues like anxiety and depression has been highlighted by numerous studies.
People who are dependent on the internet exhibit life-disruptive behaviors, such as staying late for chatting, repetitively checking emails, getting irresistible when not connected to the internet, etc. Such compulsive behaviors along with sleep issues, social isolation and persistent anxiety of not being online are some of the indications that the person might be suffering from chronic depression.
People who spend more time online may not even realize the intensity of depression they are affected with. Since the internet has become the essential element of life, one often witness challenges in staying away from it. Therefore, one can alleviate internet addiction by learning how to balance the virtual and real life.
If you know someone who exhibits the signs of depression, contact the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado to access the best depression treatment centers in Colorado delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-427-5668 or chat online to know more about the depression treatment in Colorado.