Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DSM-V Subcategory Facebook Depression?

If you believe news reports today, you may be bracing yourself for a new subcategory of mood disorder 'Facebook Depression' in the upcoming DSM-V (diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders). Researchers claim that this is a possible outcome among adolescents who obsess over Facebook. Dr Gwenn O'Keeffe, the lead author of new American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines points out that social comparison may play an important part in making adolescents feel they don't measure up. Comparing number of friends, reading about how others seem to be having non-stop fun, Facebook can provide a skewed version of reality.

Of course, 'Facebook Depression' is not really slated for entry in DSM-V and the validity of this study is highly questionable. It's a catchy term, it draws a lot of media attention...Google 'Facebook Depression' and you'll come up with many references. Maybe, and I don't want to be out there with this idea, people with depression just happen to use Facebook? If you want to read a really good analysis of this research, look no further than Dr. John Grohol over at PsychCentral.

I'd write one myself but according to this study, I should be severely depressed, judging from the limited number of friends (and the good times that they're having - you know who you are!) on my Facebook page.

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