The Link Between Social Media and Mental Health

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Look around and you’ll notice that social media is at every turn. Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest newsfeeds flood our screens and our minds as we move through each day. While social media can be a compelling tool for radical movements, self-actualization, community, and communication, it can also have negative impacts if it’s used too frequently. 

Negative Impacts of Social Media

As human beings, we’re social creatures, and we rely on support to feel loved, wanted, and needed in the world. Social media provides much of this validation for us. We reach out to friends and family members this way – we meet lovers online, we interact with acquaintances from across the world, and it gives us this illusion that we’re all together. Unfortunately, when we dwell too much on the online portrayals of others, its common to get caught in comparison, ultimately creating a feeling of lack, or ‘less than.’ Consequently, too much time spent on social media can lead us to feel alone. When it’s at it’s worst, isolation and depression can hit. 

Social Media and Recovery

Those in recovery for addiction and/or mental health disorders should be aware of the potentially negative impacts of frequent social media us. Often, individuals in early recovery seek validation from external sources to provide a sense of worth and self-esteem. Too often, they will seek personal fulfillment through social media, basing their value on the number of likes or followers they receive. Unfortunately, this kind of validation is not sustainable. Eventually, it will come up short, and when it does, these individuals are at a greater risk of relapse. Learning to use social media intentionally is crucial for those in recovery

How We Use Social Media Matters

Previous studies have found that cultivating positive interactions, social support, and social connectedness when using social networking sites constantly brings about lower levels of depression and anxiety. Conversely, a lack of interaction on these sites combined with higher levels of comparison with others can result in increased feelings of isolation and depression. Ultimately, this means that how we use social media matters. Behavior patterns surrounding social media use determines how it affects us. Therefore, it’s crucial to assess your social media usage both in and out of addiction recovery. Choosing to be intentional when logging on to these sites can make all the difference for your mental health. 

Being conscious about social media use is a start toward improved mental health. However, decreasing the time spent on social networking sites, and increasing real social interactions and consistent recovery behaviors instead will support you even further in your recovery. If you’re ready to take the next steps on your journey, Avalon Malibu is here to help. Call us today for a consultation, at 844-857-5992.

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