No one has been able to figure out if depression causes people to turn to the Internet for their social interactions, or whether excessive use of the Internet is what causes people to become depressed. It’s reminiscent of the proverbial question, ‘what came first – the chicken or the egg?’ The following information explains the episodes of depression associated with technology addiction. No matter which one came first, they can both be treated successfully.
Depression in Our Society
There are over 40 million Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. This makes it, by far, the most common mental disorder in the U.S. Interestingly, if you analyze the statistical data on depression, many of the symptoms of depression are due to a particular circumstance going on in the person’s life and not part of the clinical disease of depression.
Many people gain their self-identity and esteem from external markers of achievement that are pronounced on social media sites. In society today many people suffering from depression define happiness as the perfection they see valued by culture and society. People only see other people’s lives through their highlight reels. It can cause an almost obsessive pursuit of perfection that doesn’t exist in real life, nor can it ever be attained.
The Correlation of Depression and Technology Addiction
If you’ve ever felt your life was dull by comparison to a friend’s life profiled on Instagram or Facebook, you’re not alone. Many people are in a race towards happiness through social media competitions. These people are racing to achieve perfection in their jobs, bodies, marriages, children and more. It’s the demands of perfect happiness that have driven their emotional and psychological well beings to the brink of no man’s land. People seek technology and the Internet to compare themselves to others, and if they find out others have more of anything, they start to feel inadequate and unhappy.
Structural Changes to the Brain
The correlation of depression & technology addiction has many contributing factors that cross over each other. If you suffer from what’s called, technology addiction, your brain is going through the same type of prefrontal brain changes caused by chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol. Interestingly, the prefrontal brain is where we remember details, plan, and prioritize our day-to-day tasks, etc. The structural changes to this part of the brain are detrimental to your energy and ability to handle your day to day life tasks, which edges you towards depressive episodes.
It’s at that point, the pleasure center of your brain starts releasing dopamine to promote pleasure. It’s this chemical activation that induces a feeling of gratification. It’s this gratification experience you addicted to and want to repeat every time you get when you use technology and go online. You begin to engage in more and more behavior, which has you spending hours and days using technology even as it begins to take away from your family, friends, jobs, and life.
Getting Treatment for Both Depression and Tech Addiction
The treatment that seems to work best on depression and technology addiction is through using a multimodal treatment approach. A multimodal treatment approach uses several different types of treatments from different disciplines, such as prescription medication, psychotherapy, and family counseling, simultaneously. Studies and research suggest multimodal treatment approaches are needed because the rise of technology has had such a huge impact on civilization. Therefore technology is hard to get away from, and once technology addiction sets in you need to fight it through several different treatments. Most of the depression and treatment for depression rises from the billions of users of social media over the past ten years. The envy syndrome is tied to this rise of social media users, and it’s a real disorder that also dovetails into depressive episodes.
The treatment that doesn’t seem to work for depression and internet addiction disorder (IAD) is avoidance or abstinence from technology. Avoidance isn’t practical or realistic. Instead, IAD treatment usually focuses on time management, controlling the IAD, medicating the depression and utilizing counseling and therapy for both disorders. Some strategies are having the best results by patients joining technology support groups, while simultaneously engaging in family and individual counseling for both disorders. Treatment for IAD is about finding the right combination of therapies through the multimodal treatment approach.
Let Us Help You
Many times depression walks hand-in-hand with technology addiction. It’s a growing disorder in which more people are seeking therapy, residential and non-residential treatment for each year. Depression and technology addiction is best treated together in part due to the joint physical and mental consequences when either is left untreated.
We’re here to help you gain control over the influx of technology that surrounds you every day. We also want to make sure you get the treatment you need for your depressive episodes. Our greatest reward is when you complete therapy and can have a carefree moment away from the demands of technology as well as experience a feeling of inner peace when you overcome your depression.