Digital Depression: Overwhelmed and overworked by technology

WABASH VALLEY (WTHI) – By definition, Digital Depression is the term given to the feeling of being overwhelmed and overworked by technology.

And with cell phones, email and social media in everyday use Digital Depression is a psychological condition that can be a legitimate and unwelcome reality.

Digital Depression is still in the early stages of research because, according to Terre Haute Regional Hospital Program Therapist Tammy Erisman, internet, email and especially social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter entered mainstream society early in the 21st Century.

“Now it’s evolved to the smartphones, which we all love because we want to have access to our friends and to our family,” Erisman explained. “The flip side of that is your employers also have access to you during those hours.”

More of us are taking our work home with us which can lead to unhealthy results.

“The research has shown that employees tend to become very stressed. They can also become disengaged, which means that their heart is not in their work anymore,” continued Erisman. “They’re just doing the very basics. And it can also lead to burnout.”

Dr. Randy Stevens, a physician at Terre Haute Union Hospital, is also a respected expert in analyzing and detecting addictions like alcoholism, drug addiction and gambling addiction.

Stevens reported Digital Depression might still be in the research stage, but that doesn’t mean it’s excluded from addictive-related behavior.

“And that is, do people who abuse, become addicted, to things like the internet and now have to give it up, for whatever reason,” stated Stevens. “Do they feel a loss? And do they get depressed? And do they get anxious? And the clear answer would be ‘yes’.”

Both Stevens and Erisman state taking a daily breather from technology is not only a good idea but it’s also highly recommended.

“The recommendations to manage this: number one, setting limits for yourself if you can. Limit the amount of time that you are on your device. Second thing is to negotiate something with your employer, as far as maybe coming up with some boundaries, as far as how much they can contact you. And employers, it also benefits them to be aware of this as well. Because if employees are frustrated, depressed and stressed they’re not going to want to come to work and if they do, they’re not going to do a good job,” described Erisman.

According to research by a pair of California State University professors, an estimated one million workers are absent on an average workday because of stress-related complaints.

“I would encourage everyone everyday to put down the cell phone, turn off the computer. You won’t like this but I’ll say turn off the TV, OK. Give yourself a little bit of a break,” Stevens recommended. “You can always pre-record things on DVR and watch it a little bit later. My point is you have some concentrated time that you’re not having to answer to anyone.”

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