The News Can Trigger Depression
We live in a world easily saturated by the news cycle. Whether through television, radio, the printed word, or the Internet, information on current events is continually available. But being constantly connected to the news can take a toll on our mental health and depression can trigger depression.
Depression Can Be Triggered by the News
Particularly for those prone to depression, the indiscriminate ingestion of news can trigger depression. This is not surprising. News coverage often seems to be designed to alarm and sensationalize instead of merely inform. Even the nature of news coverage has changed over time, beginning with the dispensing of news in a limited format to the evolution of the current 24-hour news cycle.
Sometimes it can feel as though there’s no escape from the news. Aside from the traditional news media, now we have social media at every turn to recapitulate the day’s
events. Quiet space can be hard to find too as seemingly more restaurants and bars opt for the large flat screen blaring the latest current events.
Taking in the news can makes me feel anywhere from overloaded with information, to tense, to anxious, to depressed. I’ve learned it’s important to pay attention to these cues as they can presage what’s coming up mood-wise. For example, if watching the local news before bed tends to spike my anxiety levels and lower my mood, over time, this could contribute to a larger dip in mood and possible descent into depression. For me, the trade-off isn’t worth it.
How to Deal With the News As a Depression Trigger
So what to do about it? How do we balance a need to be informed with a need for space and sanity? This seems to be a personal question and one of degree. For some, only a total media blackout will do. For others, a more mixed approach will work. There can also be a fine line between the need to be informed and information overload. Some careful balancing may be called for. Focusing on some key questions can help:
What is my degree of sensitivity to the news? How do I feel after taking in the news? Do I feel down or depressed? Anxious? Where do I feel these things on a scale of 1-10? Does the news “invade my thoughts?” Do I have a hard time putting down certain stories? Do they increase my worries? Do these worries impact my moods and my ability to live peacefully?
Knowing how much news to add to your daily life will be a personal equation affected by mood and level of depression at a given point. Sometimes I read news stories in-depth; other times I stick mostly to headlines. Sometimes I have the news on in the background and other times I turn it off entirely. It’s just another factor in balancing mood and, where possible, working to avoid depression a depression trigger.
Tazzi, J. (2015, March 4). The News Can Trigger Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 10 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2015/03/the-news-can-trigger-depression
Author: Jennifer Tazzi
I had to totally omit social media and news to only stick with only watching my I Love Lucy DVDs for a several week period of time. It really helped.
I agree. Moreover, its not only the news, even the posts in the various social media platforms... they can trigger depression.
Renee, I can empathise with you. I go into total meltdown after reading some of the animal posts - and that's not ev n classed as news
Jennifer. I have thoughts. Not sure I have any wisdom. Thanks for blogging on issues affecting many people around the globe.
I had to quit listening to talk radio and the news, whether Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and others. They polarize people into good v bad. Repub vDem. I just want to walk freely and enjoy the good in all people.
Thank you, John, for your thoughts and wisdom.
I have learned to monitor my news intake, even FB triggers me. Being an animal activist I follow many rescues and animal rights organization with tooo much very it's disturbing news. I had to stop following and only visit their pages when I feel emotionally strong enough. If I start to have labored breathing and raising heart, call it quits. Been doing this work as a volunteer for 35 yrs., and really struggle with not being able to help and be as active in the fight for animals, but the realization is I'm no good to the animals and more important, myself, if I'm not careful to observe my emotional state
Thank you, Renee, for your thoughts and wisdom.