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Mental Health Experts Warn About Dangers Of 'Doomscrolling'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Experts say spending too much time on social media can be damaging to your mental health, especially when consuming too much negative news.

Are you finding yourself wasting too many hours online? We have all been there.

You hop in bed, grab your phone, open social media and the next thing you know, hours have passed and you are left feeling down in the dumps. This has been dubbed "doomscrolling."

Hannah Walker, originally from Virginia Beach, is a doomscroller. She says she just can't help herself.

"Especially on Twitter with all those headlines, especially at night while you're in bed," said Walker.

The Counseling and Wellness Center of Pittsburgh told KDKA that the pandemic has logged more people online and digging for despair.

"People are just addicted to it. We can't stop," said Nicole Monteleone, co-founder of the CWC.

Monteleone said the reason people are incessantly scrolling for negative news is because "we're hard-wired for it on an evolutionary level because if we learn about the big scary thing or we get the answers, then we can control our environment."

According to experts, doomscrolling can lead to anxiety, depression and fatigue. But there are ways to avoid it.

Dr. Candice Biernesser, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh, said "what is really impactful is what you're doing when you're online."

Biernesser recommends identifying your triggers, phasing them out of your timelines and keeping a social media schedule.

"There's research to indicate social media use an hour or half-hour before bed can impact the disturbance of your sleep through the entire night," said Dr. Biernesser.

Experts told KDKA that spreading positivity starts with you and to post something uplifting the next time you log on.

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