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How to Tell if You're Depressed

Check your internet usage. Do you check your e-mail compulsively? Watch lots of videos? Switch frequently among multiple Internet applications--from games to file downloads to chat rooms? Yep, you're depressed, all right.

In the June 16th edition of the New York Times, Sriram Chellappan talks about his research on depression and the internet: (We discovered) "that there were patterns of Internet usage that were statistically high among participants with depressive symptoms compared with those without symptoms. That is, we found indicators: styles of Internet behavior that were signs of depressive people. For example, participants with depressive symptoms tended to engage in very high e-mail usage. This perhaps was to be expected: research has shown that frequent checking of e-mail may relate to high levels of anxiety, which itself correlates with depressive symptoms."

Chellappan and his team also noticed "frequent switching among Internet applications like e-mail, chat rooms and games. This may indicate difficulty concentrating. This finding, too, is consistent with the psychological literature: difficulty concentrating is also a sign of depressive symptoms among students. Other characteristic features of 'depressive' Internet behavior included increased amounts of video watching, gaming and chatting."

Chellappan suggests "monitoring Internet usage" of students, who are at a vulnerable age for suicide. But he admits that this could be one more chip in the edifice of our privacy.

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