Comfortably Numb


Quite a few studies in recent years have tried to postulate a possible link between mental well-being decline and social media. While it is really simplistic to come to hasty conclusions such as “depression increases with the use of social media”, we can certainly say that conversations on the topic of depression among the “high” profiles monitored by Nextatlas are constantly increasing and these are the tags to which they are most related.

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Conversations are concentrated in Western Europe, Australia but especially in the United States where according to the National Institute of Mental Health almost a third of Americans suffer from anxiety at some point in their lives, with a growth rate of 18% each year. According to Nextatlas’ artificial intelligence, the topic is mainly discussed among very young people (Gen Z 11-21), while to a lesser extent by forty, thirty and twenty year olds.

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A recent study by the University of Pennsylvania did not indicate a particular causal connection between the use of social media and depression, although it was found that less use of social media by those suffering from states of anxiety reduces stress from social comparison, especially in platforms such as Instagram where everyone seems to have a better life.

It must be said, however, that the network in recent times is becoming the bearer of services and apps to help quell the symptoms of anxiety and discomfort that are added to the many products that claim to reduce stress such as aromatherapy vapors, essential oils, machines to calm the sound or lamps for light therapy.

DqIo4C-W4AEf6nc A very popular phenomenon on the net are the videos that stimulate the ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response), neologism to indicate a pleasant tingling sensation on the scalp, along the back or on the shoulders, usually accompanied by a state of torpor and complete mental relaxation of those who experience it. These are visual, auditory and tactile stimuli perceived in a passive way, which cause a well-being that spreads from the brain to the rest of the body, increasing the levels of excitement and calm, decreasing those of stress and sadness. There are 13 million videos on YouTube about ASMR activities ranging from whispering to the sound of the tip of the pencil caressing the paper, from touching objects to making particular gestures. The new video of rapper Cardi B. is based on these systems.  The benefits of AMSR have not yet been supported by any scientific data, but are rapidly becoming very popular as they temporarily relieve tension, without requiring a particular complex practice such as meditation.

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There are also many references to the use and abuse of psychotropic drugs, especially by some American subcultures that now cite and treat pharmaceutical and medicinal brands as they once did with brands of sneakers and clothing.