Major depression cases skyrocketed by 33 percent from 2013 to 2016, according to a study by health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA).
The spike is even more serious for young people, with a 47 percent jump in millennials and a 63 percent jump in adolescents.
“The high rates for adolescents and millennials could have a substantial health impact for decades to come,” BCBSA chief medical officer Trent Haywood said in a press release.
Overuse of social media and electronics may be a contributing factor in the elevated depression rates.
“It is possible that the increased rates of depression in adolescents are related to a combination of increased electronics use and sleep disruptions in already vulnerable individuals,” said Dr. Karyn Horowitz, a psychiatrist affiliated with Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island.
“Increased use of electronics, video games more commonly in boys and social media/texting more commonly in girls, can lead to increased conflict both within the home and with peers.”
The study also found higher rates of social isolation among individuals who used social media more often.
“In preliminary literature, high users of social media have been linked with higher rates of social isolation than low users,” Haywood added. “It is important to further explore this relationship.”
In 2017, Facebook admitted its users reported feeling worse about themselves after using its platform for only ten minutes.
Additionally, former Facebook president Sean Parker even asserted last year that the tech company exploits psychological “vulnerabilities” in its users to make it more addictive, adding, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
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