Our Facebook pages say a lot about us. That is what they are designed to do. A public profile is like an avatar of ourselves, a virtual representation of what we want people to know. Social media accounts are often criticized for glamorizing the lives of the people behind them. It is a rarity on social media to come across someone who is completely and totally honest with themselves and with others about who they are as well as what really goes on in their lives. One creative artist used an instagram account to post lavish pictures of themselves all over the world. Gaining popularity as an Instagram icon, the user received comments about being lucky to live the life they were living. What few followers were able to recognize was that in every picture, the user had a drink in her hand or there was a bottle of alcohol. Later on after she revealed her motives, the artist explained that the social media frame of her content eliminated the focus on the fact that the girl in the photos had a drinking problem.
According to new research conducted on over eleven million Facebook profiles, what we post on social media, in terms of status updates and likes, could indicate if we drink and/or if we do drugs. UC Berkeley researchers analyzed the Facebook profiles as well as 22 million other status updates from 150,000 people. The software used for the analysis was able to target certain keywords, including expletives, and the kind of things someone “likes” on Facebook.
With anywhere between eighty to eighty-six percent accuracy, the study was able to identify risks of substance abuse or those who were already struggling with substance abuse. These findings are significant for a few reasons. First, many addicts and alcoholics believe they are “getting away” with their behavior. When they try to cover up their drinking and using, they truly believe other people don’t notice the changes. While many alcoholics and addicts do successfully cover up their problem, many more fall for the delusion that they are in control of the substances in their lives.
Analyzing Facebook profiles could be a tool for early intervention if technologies like the software used can advance more.
You don’t have to lie and hide about your drug and alcohol addiction. It’s okay to ask for help. Avalon By The Sea warmly offers you residential treatment for mental health and substance use disorders which seek to bring serenity to mind, body, and spirit. Call us now for a confidential assessment and more information, 888-958-7511.