Recent findings from a study conducted by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) show that more Americans are suffering from major depression than ever before. Individuals are being diagnosed with major depression at a rate 33 percent higher than in 2013. Major Depression: The Impact on Overall Health was published online by Blue Cross Blue Shield on May 10. Experts believe that social media may be part of the problem.
A recent article published by NBC News points out that BCBS’s findings are presumably lower than the actual rate. The data compiled by Blue Cross Blue Shield has come from the health records of 41 million Americans who have received a medical diagnosis of major depression. The information includes only those individuals who have seen a physician or sought treatment for their depression, and are insurance holders.
Chief of psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital, Dr. Laurel Williams, describes what he feels is the most likely cause of the surge of major depression rates within the United States.
“There’s a lack of community. There’s the amount of time that we spend in front of screens and not in front of other people. If you don’t have a community to reach out to, then your hopelessness doesn’t have any place to go.”
The highest major depression rates are derived from adolescents and millennials. The issues that Blue Cross Blue Shield have outlined in their study may have a significant impact on health years into the future. Medical Daily reported, according to the senior vice president of BCBS Trent Hayword, further studies are needed to educate medical professionals on the most effective approaches when treating major depression.
“For some kids, video game use can become an addiction leading to social isolation, poor school performance, and impaired sleep,”
Dr. Horowitz added that the increased use of electronics causes a disruption of sleep patterns, thereby increasing the rate of major depression in individuals who are at a vulnerable age.
A phenomenon referred to by researchers as “Facebook depression,” occurs when individuals spend a considerable amount of time on social media. “Facebook depression” is not limited solely to Facebook. When an abundance of time is spent on electronic devices, such as phones, computers, and tablets, an individual may begin exhibiting classic symptoms of depression.
As social beings, contact with peers and acceptance is important, especially in children and teens. According to research, the “intensity of the online world” is thought to be one of the many factors that cause major depression. Those who suffer from the phenomenon of Facebook depression are at great risk for social seclusion.
The signs of major depression include, but are not limited to, negative thinking without being able to see a positive solution, agitation, lack of focus, irritability, fatigue, and morbid and suicidal thoughts. If you, or a loved one, are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please seek the advice of a medical professional.