Doomscrolling is when someone constantly searches through social media and news website feeds looking for negative or saddening information. The amount of searching through bad news during COVID has increased dramatically and it has likely contributed to the increase in feelings of depression symptoms.
Reasons For Increased Doomscrolling
There are several factors about the pandemic that have caused the increase. News companies that usually charge for access to their articles, such as the New York Times, have made access to their COVID-19 related news free to the public. In addition to this, the sheer volume of news surrounding COVID has been astronomical because news organizations know that reporting every single detail of the disease, case numbers, hot spots, vaccine progress, treatment possibilities, and anything else there is to know about the topic is extremely profitable. This increase and access to negative news have drastically contributed to the increase in doomscrolling.
Negative Health Ramifications
As we talked about in our article about Nomophobia, excessive social media usage is linked to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. In addition to this, increased consumption of negative information of any kind can lead to increased feelings of fear and stress. This can lead to increased levels of stress hormones, and chronically increased levels of stress hormones are linked to things like heart disease and diabetes in the very long term. In the short term, however, the increased stress can cause interruptions in sleep and craving for comfort food and overeating. Aside from this, noticeably more people are experiencing depression symptoms due to the social isolation and fear brought on by the pandemic already and this trend only adds to that.
Staying Informed Without Doom
Cutting back on the use of social media or limiting the amount of time spent on news sites can be a good way to keep informed without letting the negativity become the only information that you take in. If you begin feeling stressed or anxious while going through social media or watching the news you should listen to your body and take a break from it.
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