Can social media cause post-traumatic stress disorder? Is it possible to consume too much news and media, and be adversely effected by it?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is defined as acute anxiety that occurs after you’ve seen or experienced trauma that resulted in threat, injury or death. Symptoms include everything from irritability to anger all the way to remorse and depression.
War veterans are often thoughts of as the face of this affliction, but they aren’t the only ones suffering. People watching and reading about these events through social media can be victims, as well. Although they are one level removed, thanks to multiple sources and social networks, the theme and emotional weight of this content is still transmitted and absorbed.
In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, and a visual and viral culture known for oversharing, journalists are asking whether or not social media can cause these feelings. And a growing contingent of journos are starting to speak up.
One big name is NPR's Andy Carvin. He says that secondary PTSD from social media is real, and it needs to be dealt with. Some news organizations, like Storyful, are even starting to provide treatment for afflicted journos, explained editorial director David Clinch in a tweet:
This week on #muckedup we’re going to dive into this very issue of oversharing, over saturation and over exposure and its end result on our psyche. While this won’t be as scientific (or expensive) as a visit to the doctor’s office, we hope it’s just as therapeutic. My mom always said the best way to deal with difficult situations is to talk things out. Since moms are never wrong, we’re going to take this forum to do just that.
Join the collective this Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST as we tackle the dark side of social media and take a pulse on what journalists are saying. Hope to see you there. And hope to raise awareness.