Social Media Is Redefining ‘Depression’

by Rachel Baker on October 30, 2013

The Atlantic explores the interesting phenomenon of social media’s affect on how people define depression.

Kutcher says the problem is in misinformation. Adolescents are getting a lot of information from the media, on websites such as Tumblr, or from their friends, not from reputable sources.

“In this waterfall of information there is a lack of critical understanding,” Kutcher says. “You see kids self-identifying as having that depression, but they don’t have a depression. They’re upset, or they’re demoralized, or they’re distressed by something.” In other words, adolescents are confusing the clinical disorder called “depression” with normal, everyday challenges.

“People use the word ‘depression’ if they can’t find their keys, or if they’ve had a fight with their mother or father, or if they’ve had an argument with their boyfriend or girlfriend, if they didn’t make the school team or didn’t do well on an exam,” Kutcher says. “When we use the word ‘depression’ for every negative emotional state, the word loses its meaning.” Kutcher says this over-diagnosis of normal human experience is indeed a social trend.

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