How Social Media Addiction Affects Mental Health

How Social Media Addiction Affects Mental Health

Social networking sites have become so ingrained into our everyday lives that if you asked someone 10 years ago, they probably wouldn’t believe you. Social media sites have grown rapidly over the last decade, and nearly everyone in the modern world has an online profile. Problematic social media use has had vast effects on mental health over the last few years, with many studies that show drastic results in all different areas of our lives. From casual online social networking to full-blown social media addiction, excessive usage of digital spaces can affect our physical and mental health in many different ways.

Many studies done in recent years link excessive social media use to social anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and much more. If you want to find out how much social media addiction can affect you and those around you, keep reading.

Why Is Social Media Addictive?

Social media use triggers the brain’s reward system, meaning that the brain releases dopamine every time you pick up your phone and scroll through whatever site you may be using. It is a cycle that social network users repeat more and more often, which can then trigger a behavioral addiction, almost mimicking the same patterns as that of substance abuse.

Social media addiction can affect many people in different ways. Over the last few years, many doctors and psychologists have noted that physical health has dropped in young people as they spend more time on their phones. School responsibilities have gone out the window as more and more of them want to become influencers instead.

Real-life relationships are deemed less and less important, and negative body image, as well as low self-esteem, is on the rise. While the dopamine in the brain makes social media use a somewhat behavioral addiction, one that can relieve stress, it is only temporary. The lasting negative effects are more challenging to get rid of.

Social Media Usage – How Much Is Too Much?

According to newer psychological literature, the average person spends up to 2.5 hours daily using social media. According to some studies, the ideal amount of time spent on social media use is 30 minutes a day. Those who participated in the study showed improvements in low self-esteem, personal problems were resolved more easily, a healthy relationship with the people around them, and other aspects of their lives improved as well.

Although the numbers speak for themselves, someone with an internet addiction may not agree. The number of young people who have social media addiction only seems to be rising. The constant stream of dopamine coming from their phones only feeds into these addictive behaviors. They are often ignoring real-life relationships, which is one of the first signs of social media addiction. If this sounds familiar to you, keep reading, where we will cover how to control this addiction.

Which Social Media Platforms Are the Worst?

Technology is always moving rapidly, and social media is growing just as fast. People seem to be addicted to getting the attention, likes, and followers that come with social media. There are even services that exist so that you can grow your social media presence on Threads, for example, where you can buy likes from reputable companies if regular followers aren’t cutting it anymore. Check the website to boost your Threads account quickly.

While studies are still being done on which social media app has the most negative impact on young people’s mental health, no concrete information has been concluded. Instagram had the most damaging consequences on those aged 20-35 compared to other social media platforms.

Other research suggests that TikTok is on the rise in young teens when it comes to addictive social media use. Both apps have similar patterns when it comes to the addictive behavior that is present in both young teens and young adults.

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Online users have compared social media addiction as a way for them to feel satisfied and get that dopamine hit without the use of recreational drugs. That does not mean, though, that these addictive social media tendencies are not ruining lives in other ways.

Social Media and Mental Health

There have been several studies done on social media addiction and the links that it has to mental health. Results can vary depending on where a large national survey could have been done, as well as what age group they were targeting and if they had any prior mental health issues; all these things should be taken into consideration. There are, however, common disorders that have been linked throughout; they include:

1. Anxiety

There has been a significant increase in anxiety disorders in young people. Many professionals believe that constantly comparing themselves to the impossible standards we see on social media is to blame.

2. Depression

Social media addiction has left many young people without the proper social skills. Instead of getting dopamine from fulfilling friendships, many young adults rely on social media to fuel their brain’s reward center. They believe that social media can help them relieve undesirable moods when, in fact, it is doing the opposite.

3. Eating Disorders

Social media addiction has also driven up the cases of eating disorders in many countries across the world. Seeing such unrealistic standards at such a young age can have catastrophic impacts on mental health conditions. Eating disorders are used as a coping mechanism to fit into unrealistic societal beauty standards.

4. Sleep Disorders

A mental health professional from the UK did a study on the effects of the addictive use of social media and the reward centers in the brain. The study showed an increase in poor sleep as cellphone lighting keeps the brain awake, which makes falling asleep harder than ever.

How to Steer Clear of Social Media Apps

There are a few things you can do to break social media addiction. It is not something that is easily diagnosed, but if you can relate to the symptoms above, maybe the following steps will help.

Stay Positive

The uncontrollable urge to check your social media accounts is something that most people who have social media addiction struggle with. You need to essentially change the reward pathways that are active in your brain. Instead of giving in to psychological dependency and this impulse, you need to find something else that you can do instead that also brings you joy. Be kind to yourself and use words of positive reinforcement. No one is perfect, but all that matters is that you are trying your best.

Digital Detox

Taking a break from electronic devices is not only suitable for those who suffer from social media addiction but is excellent for anyone to do every once in a while. Minimizing screen time and focusing on your physical and mental well-being can do wonders for the quality of your life. Taking frequent breaks from all electronic devices has been proven to improve overall well-being, and many people swear never to go back to old ways.

Professional Help

Social media addiction and the frequent use of social networking sites are not something to be taken lightly. If you feel that social media has taken over your entire life and you can’t do anything on your own, seek help from a therapist. Talk therapy has especially proven useful when it comes to overcoming social media addiction.

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Are there any positive aspects to social media?

Staying up-to-date and in touch with loved ones is always a good thing. While social media can be harmful, the most important thing is finding the right balance between social media use and everyday life.

Are there tools that can help me manage my children’s social media accounts?

Yes, many parental tools are available that can help parents monitor their children’s account activity and control how much time they spend on their social media accounts. As we know, the internet can be very dangerous, especially for young people. It is important that parents monitor their social media accounts for many reasons.

What physical health problems can occur with social media addiction?

People who have a social media addiction tend to have health problems associated with sedentary lifestyles. Lack of physical exercise can affect the body in many ways and lead to serious health problems. Depending on how much time somebody may spend this way, the effects can vary.