Social Question

RareDenver's avatar

Do you think heavy internet use could cause depression or do you think depressed people are drawn to the internet?

Asked by RareDenver (13143points) February 7th, 2010

A recent study has shown a link between depression and extreme internet use but what it hasn’t been able to say is which came first so to speak. I’m of the mind that depressed people might be more likely to use the internet heavily rather than the internet causing depression. What do you guys think?

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15 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Actually, i don’t agree with either of your questions. i use the internet a lot, not out of depression, but for entertainment.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m no expert, but I think it’s the other way around. Depressed people are drawn to the internet. They can get some form of stimulation without directly interacting with other people.Same as watching television.
This is probably also the case with people in the autism spectrum, as we can communicate on an equal basis with others, not having to interpret nonverbal cues. We truly suck at this F2F but the internet makes us equal.

holiwi's avatar

There’s also been a connection made between being lonely/ being depressed in research and it was concluded that being lonely causes depression and not vice versa, so I assume it would be the same scenario for this.

ducky_dnl's avatar

I have depression and YES, heavy internet use makes me even more depressed. I promised myself I wouldn’t ever go on networks like this, but I can’t help myself. I actually met a guy on Yahoo Answers, he made me feel great, then he decided to pull a sick joke and say he died. I got very depressed and still am because of it. Even though I know it was fake. :(

wildflower's avatar

If someone spends excessive amounts of time online, they probably spend little time interacting with people face to face.
Considering any online interaction is somewhat removed – and how little any one person can control interactions on the internet, I can see how people can end up depressed if this is their main – or only – way of interacting with others.

laureth's avatar

More answers here.

PhillyCheese's avatar

Both are logical. Those who spend too much time on the internet tend to get addicted to the Internet, and when they’re addicted to the internet, they spend more time on a virtual community than an outside community; and when they finally make contact with the outside world, they tend not to be as socially calibrated than a person whom of which spends a regular amount of time outdoors.

Those who are depressed are drawn to the Internet because the feel that they can say anything they want, whenever they want without any physical repercussions. They also feel that they can be whatever they want without the harsh critisizm of the modern world.

These are based on my own past experiences and with people I have dealt with.

mollypop51797's avatar

I think that depressed people are drawn to the internet which then leads them to heavy usage of the internet. Therefore, after the depressed person is drawn to the internet, they use it A LOT, and therefore people who have gone through those stages are depressed people who have been drawn to the internet. Make any sense?

TehRoflMobile's avatar

@PhillyCheese you summed it up perfectly :).

People who spend to much time on the internet may not go out much, and lack many true friends, or they just don’t know how to act socially normal, making them depressed.

Depressed people may use the internet as an outlet to express themselves without any consequences.

These are just opinions, and I know there are exceptions, but it makes sense.

ucme's avatar

As @laureth has pointed out & is crystal clear for anyone to see,this is a duplicate of my question asked a couple of days ago.Amazing that on the rare occasions I accidentaly duplicate a question it gets pulled as such.Wondered in the interests of fairness why this has not happened here.

nebule's avatar

I am depressed. I am drawn to the internet. When I am not depressed I am drawn to the internet. I have few real life friends.

wundayatta's avatar

I answered this question on @ucme‘s version of it. I said: “It works both ways. I think depressed people are attracted because it is a way to meet people without leaving their homes.” You can read the rest here.

So I wonder about regular people and what they do. Do they have lives that keep them from being lonely or feeling bad about themselves in other ways? Maybe they are more social and things are easier for them. Maybe they are less sensitive, so the slings and arrows of daily life don’t bother them.

Clearly virtual interaction is not as good as real interaction, but it is also better than no interaction. I have made a lot of virtual friends, but then, I’ve also lost them. On the internet, easy come, easy go is much easier. It’s also harder to imagine that anything really matters because it’s all virtual and you never actually see a real person.

Which, I think, does end up being really frustrating. And depressing. Here are all these wonderful people and I can’t get my hands on them (so to speak) and make them real. Then I think it encourages unstable behavior. For example, sometimes I would disappear, because the unreality of the place made me feel unreal, and wonder whether I made any difference to anyone in the virtual world. All the while, I’m wishing it would translate into real world…. reality?

I’m sitting here, staring at my computer screen. It contains words other people have written, and the words that I’m writing are appearing as I type them. They come from nothing and appear in a kind of reality—the reality of electrons—which is an invisible kind of reality.

I am writing, really, to explore my own thoughts. But I use other people’s questions as a starting point. I choose the questions that help me explore the issues I’m thinking about at the time. So, in a way, I’m here all by myself, and everyone out there only exists in my imagination. That’s a pretty depressing thought.

Violet's avatar

Interesting question. I don’t think the internet can cause depression. Depression is a chemical imbalance within the brain. But people with depression could be drawn to the internet. It’s a way to further isolate themselves (I do this).

Steve_A's avatar

I find it useful and has not caused any depression that I am aware of…..for me its great for music sources.Music always has positive results with me :)

candide's avatar

depression and the internet have as much to do with each other as much as optimism and tv, or pretty much anything. Depression is a natural part of the human psyche and it does not help people to think that if they feel depressed that something is psychologically wrong – then they run around trying to be unnaturally happy all the time, taking antidepressants, and blaming things like tv, the internet, relationships and whatever else for the times they feel sad, as if there is something that needs to be fixed when it is really a case of them just getting to know themselves a little better -

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