Along with the positive things we can have on social media, it comes with various downsides. Apart from other social issues, you put your health on risk. There are many mental health problems which you can face from excessive use of social media. New studies show that social media addiction is very similar to drug addiction and gambling. It poses almost similar health risks. Impaired judgment and poor decision making are the factors that correlate excessive use of social media and substance abuse disorder, researchers concluded.
“With so many people around the world using social media, it is critical for us to understand its use. I believe that social media has tremendous benefits for individuals, but there is also a darker side when people cannot pull them away. We need to better understand this drive so we can determine if excessive social media use should be considered as an addiction”
Let’s have a look at how social media and mental health are related:
Normally, we all face self-esteem issues at some time in our lives. But if you constantly check on people’s perfect Instagram photos or relationship status on Facebook, then you will definitely harm your self-esteem. You will start questioning yourself. You will compare your life with those fancy profile pictures and consequently harm your self-confidence and self-respect.
It might not seem a very serious problem but studies have shown that it brings lots of problems in one’s life. It is called as ‘Facebook envy’ by the University of Copenhagen.
“When we derive a sense of worth based on how we are doing relative to others, we place our happiness in a variable that is completely beyond our control.” says Doctor Tim Bono, author of When likes aren’t enough.
Apparently, all your memories can be made on social media as your ‘status’ and you can reflect back to them whenever you want. But in fact, social media engagement during any memorable event distorts one from the little memories that he/she can enjoy.
“If we direct all of our attention towards capturing the best shots for our social media followers to admire, less will be available to enjoy other aspects of the experience in real-time.” Doctor Tim.
Increased use of social media has decreased our attention span. You keep looking at your phone, seeing all the world’s information on your fingertips. Doing so, you lose connection with the real world thus creating problems like lack of concentration and attention.
Increased stress and anxiety:
Excessive use of social media can cause one to feel stress and anxiety. Though there is no clear evidence on how social media makes a person feel stressed and anxious but certain studies have shown that people who use excessive social media are drawn towards isolation. As a result, they feel lonely and stressed out.
The factors like comparison, jealousy, and envy from ‘Facebook friends’ can make a person feel stressed and can lead to anxiety.
Another thing is that it is not clear that a stressed-out person uses social media more or social media itself makes a person feel stressed.
A researcher, Doctor Catriona Morrison says, “Our research indicates that that excessive Internet use is associated with depression, but what we do not know is which comes first. Are depressed person drawn to the Internet or does the Internet causes depression?”
A study was conducted by the Royal Society for Public health in UK and it proved that people, especially youngsters who use social media had a negative effect on their mental health. They felt depressed and lonely.
As discussed earlier, excessive use of social media and the Internet increases the feelings of jealousy and envy. It is not obvious but there are fair chances that a person will feel sad after seeing perfect family photos, great achievements etc. This can create a natural feeling of jealousy which is not good for your mental health.
If you tend to use social media all day long then you will prefer to stay alone in a room. This will ultimately lead to feelings of sadness and depression.
Though there is not enough evidence to prove that social media really cause mental illnesses. But studies have shown that too much use of social media can cause symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety. In addition, a person feels cut off from his/her surroundings and this creates a lack of concentration and focus. One can feel drained out and lethargic which also affects one’s health.
So, it is obvious that social media does have various advantages and that is why it is not supposed to be shunned all in all. What you have to do is to allocate a time slot from your daily routine to social media and do not dare to cross that slot. You will do a favor to yourself!