Social media plays a major role in most of our lives. It allows millions of people worldwide to connect with friends and family while exposing them to breaking news, upcoming events, viral videos, and more. However, social media can also significantly impact our mental health, making some experts reevaluate their views on popular apps like Instagram and Twitter.
That’s why Dr. Quintal and Associates put together a brief guide to teach you about social media and its impact on your mental health.
We are Lakewood Ranch’s leading counseling center. We offer compassionate therapy and mental health services to Florida residents struggling with mental illness and other physiological issues. Our team always makes you their top priority and will do everything in their power to provide outstanding psychiatric care so you can improve your overall well-being.
Social Media’s Effect on Mental Health
Although social media allows us to communicate with friends while keeping us up-to-date with current events, many studies suggest it can take a toll on our mental health. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can adversely affect you psychologically, causing numerous issues ranging from severe mental health conditions to false perceptions of reality.
Below are some of the most prevalent effects social media has on our mental health.
Many social media sites and apps are highly addictive and stimulate users the same way as gambling. The unanticipated content featured on your feeds causes your brain to release dopamine, giving you the same rewarding feeling of playing a slot machine. Many people become addicted to this dopamine rush, causing them to scroll through social media for countless hours each day.
Dopamine gives us immense pleasure whenever we perform enjoyable activities. It acts as our brains’ reward system and significantly impacts our mental health. Social media manipulates our dopamine receptors and can severely shift our mood depending on the content displayed on our timelines or news feeds.
False Perceptions of Reality
Many people use social media to highlight special events throughout their lives. However, most people only share positive aspects of their lives on their social media profiles, creating false perceptions that can make some users feel jealous or resentful. Since social media rarely highlights negative elements in a person’s life, it often makes their lives seem better than they actually are, furthering the jealousy in specific users.
Social media also has a reputation for promoting unrealistic beauty standards. Many celebrities and influencers edit imperfections out of their photos to make them appear more beautiful. When people see these images, they often become self-conscious and feel like they can’t live up to society’s beauty standards, significantly decreasing their mental health.
Enhanced Anxiety and Depression
Studies show that excessive social media use can cause several mental health problems like depression and anxiety, especially in young adults. Using more than two social media websites simultaneously often worsens these issues while increasing loneliness in users.
However, some people use social media to cope with depression and anxiety, often worsening their effects.
Limiting your social media use to 30 minutes a day can dramatically diminish anxiety and depression. It can also reconnect you with reality and help you view the world through a more realistic lens, improving your mental health.
Nighttime social media users often have trouble getting a good night’s sleep compared to people that don’t utilize the apps. They typically stay up later and sleep worse due to excess brain stimulation and FOMO (fear of missing out), often worsening their mental and physical health.
It’s best to log off social media a few hours before bed to help your brain unwind and relax. Try finding a calming activity like meditation or taking a warm bath to help you decompress and sleep better. Placing your phone away from your bedside can also help fight the urge to explore social media while trying to sleep.
If you struggle with mental health issues and want to improve your overall well-being, contact Dr. Quintal and Associates. Our team can help you overcome your troubles and provide treatment to curb depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues. We’ve helped countless Lakewood ranch residents improve their mental health, and we can do the same for you at a price you can afford.