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Media Medicine Science

Using Multiple Forms of Media At Once Correlates With Depression, Anxiety 174

pigrabbitbear writes "A new study (abstract) from Michigan State University shows that media multitasking exhibits a strong correlation with social anxiety and depression. Importantly, the direction of causality remains to be seen: Does multi-tasking make us more anxious and depressed? Or, as the study's leader, Mark W. Becker, an assistant professor of psychology, put it in an email, 'are depressed and anxious [people] turning toward media multitasking as a form of distraction?' The results of this study aren't conclusive in that regard, he says. But they're an important step. 'While that question will not be easy to answer, it is worth pursing because the practical implications of the findings depend on the causal direction,' he said."
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Using Multiple Forms of Media At Once Correlates With Depression, Anxiety

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  • by PopAndGame ( 2790489 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:27PM (#42218677)
    There was this old study on how using multiple tabs while browsing means you're depressed. It basically said girls are more normal in this regard because they just have their Facebook page open and AT MOST browse just one other website for reading. At the same time nerds were thought depressed because they couldn't keep themselves on one page but kept switching to many different pages, on tabs. Might have some truth to reality, especially if looking at the geeks I know.
  • by hamjudo ( 64140 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:50PM (#42218973) Homepage Journal
    Depressed people are also likely to self medicate with cigarettes or alcohol. And using cigarettes or alcohol sometimes leads to depression. In some people, it leads to a positive feedback loop.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:12PM (#42219239)

    Let's just be clear. Depression and feeling depressed are not the same thing. They actually have little in common. Depression is a condition of extended psychomotor retardation that typically lasts 6 months if treated and 12 months if untreated. Many people with depression don't always feel sadness. In particular, men are more likely to be irritable than sad.

    I know that it is popular to compare depression with feeling down, grieving, disappointment, etc. This only does people with actual depression a disservice because depression is not something something that can be fixed on a time scale of hours, days, or weeks.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @04:15PM (#42219287) Journal

    I have oodles of social anxiety. It started long before teh Internets.

    Not sure when it started. As early as first grade ca. 1972, I recall a tendency towards incendiary embarrassment coupled with a feeling I was surrounded by idiots.

  • Re:Makes sense to me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @05:17PM (#42219951) Journal

    Hey, AC - go get help, get medicated

    Medication doesn't actually work for most people. A 2008 meta-analysis [] of all clinical trials involving SSRIs, including trials the author had to file FOIA requests to get, shows that SSRIs provide no clinically significant benefit to those with a Hamilton Rating [] below 23. That's "very severe" depression. Side effects of course occur no matter how depressed you are.

    That was 4 years ago, no one has since refuted these findings. I've actually sought treatment for depression in the past couple years. I was given a score of 15 and was offered SSRIs. I asked the psychiatrist how she could ethically offer an addictive drug with many side effects when the best science available showed them to be no more effective than harmless glucose. She had no answer, except to say that in her experience they were effective. As if there was no reason to do blinded, placebo controlled studies.

    The only conclusion I can reach from this is that psychiatric treatment for depression in all but the most severe cases is a con. If you can still feed yourself, get your ass to work, and sleep at night there's nothing psychiatry can do for you. You might as well rub a crystal on your forehead.

  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:02PM (#42220339)
    I'm just going to throw this out there... since I don't have any points to mod down

    Internet habits can be an expression of mental state... but let's think about this... so IS EVERYTHING ELSE. Your style of clothes, mannerisms, speech patterns, ALL of those stem from mental state. I can have 20-30 tabs open at a time while I'm writing code, does that make me depressed? no, paid? yes.

    Some people put the TV on to say drown out external noise and then focus in on what they're doing on their computer, a TV is easier to focus with than the contractor's saw at your neighbor's house.

    I can go on and on with examples, but let's just say these studies have no merit.
  • Re:Makes sense to me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2012 @06:08PM (#42220409)

    The more and more research you do into anti-depressants the more and more harmful they appear to be. I've been depressed for over 16 years (~10 to 26) and have attempted suicide a couple times (left the result up to chance and got lucky). Last year I finally when in for a free session and got diagnosed with double-depression, among other things. I hate taking meds/drugs. I spent all summer researching depression in an attempt to convince myself to start anti-depressants this fall. Instead it convinced me to never take them even once.

    Depression used to be something many people would go through once or twice in a life time. It lasted around a year then the person got over it. Nowadays, it's a lifelong, disabling illness that puts you out of work and onto welfare. Anti-depressants are addictive in the sense that your body adjusts (fights against the drug's effects) and you have to take more and more of them for the same effects. Eventually one drug stops working and you have to switch. Once you stop an anti-depressant you get depressed again. People see this as the drug was working and go back on it. However, the withdraw effects exactly match the original symptoms and most people don't know these drugs have any withdraw effects! They get cured normally in around a year but stay on the drugs because they don't notice. These drugs screw with how your brain operations on a chemical level and eventually leads to brain damage. You slowly lose the ability to maintain emotional stability which means you'll start taking more and strong drugs. Then you'll take more drugs to reduce their side effects. People on this path die 20 years earlier than their peers.

    The good clinical trials show no benefit of anti-depressants over active placebos (placebos which cause side effects).

    The best treatments for depression is exercise, sunlight (sounds stupid but it actually matters), eating the right foods (more fruit and veggies, less meat protein and processed sugar), CBT, and quality social interaction and support. If you can do these things, please skip the drugs. Your life will be so much better in the long run.

    I'm still deeply depressed, but I'm slowly working through it on my own. No additional costs, no additional side effects, and no one around me knows. I still can't see any future worth living for me, but the constant wanting and looking for chances die is gone.

    I'm not providing sources. You'll learn more if you go research things yourself.

  • by anubi ( 640541 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @12:32AM (#42223057) Journal
    Yes. as humans, we are NOT identical. Our physical traits vary. So do our psychological traits. Its not just us, either. Talk to anyone who has raised animals. I have raised kittens. Some kittens are loveable. Some are skittish. Some come out just plain wild.

    I found out about this several years ago when new management took over at the old aerospace company I used to work for. A serious clash of personality types resulted as my former supervisors ( old-school engineers ) were replaced by men of the suit and tie... MBA's.

    I did not last long. We had completely different value systems. I was the artist type and wanted it done just right; they were business oriented and were optimizing for maximum quarterly profit.

    I was laid off. Just as good. I am pretty sure I would have gone crazy if I had been kept around, as I was too stubborn to just walk away.

    I was convinced I was crazy, so I went to the local community college and talked to the dean of psychology, and told him I wanted to be evaluated - and I flat did not trust anyone in the medical profession who had a fiduciary incentive in the outcome.

    I told him my story, and he recognized what happened. He set up a array of tests ( Myers-Briggs, Keirsey, and a couple others ) that presented hundreds of situations and queried how I would handle it. All on the computer.

    It took me several days to go through the long version ( the shorter versions are available on the internet - the ones I got took several hours each to complete ).

    It turns out psychologists have been able to classify personality types into different categories, just as hair color, eye color, skin color have categories. I am strongly INTP and have asperger traits. Its not a malfunction as much as it is a descriptor. It explained why I have absolutely no interest in sports, or why I would consider a thermodynamics book far more interesting than a bestseller novel.

    I think a lot of us here on Slashdot have similar attributes, as this site - by its nature and content - caters to our type. I would bet few of us give much of a damm about the Super Bowl, but would find a new way of lighting a building worth a read.

    We think "they" are nuts, crazy, completely oblivious to reality. "They" think the same about us.

    Take Malthus... he talked hundreds of years ago about mankind reproducing so much he overshoots the capacity of this planet to support us - resulting in a massive die-off. I fear this too. Or something called "Peak Oil". I've seen the production curves and thoroughly understand the logistic equation the depletion curves are based on, and it scares the hell out of me. Yet "normal people" seem to take this in stride.

    Who is to say who is crazy?

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev