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The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health Recovery

Everywhere you look, people are on their phones. Quite often, these people are scrolling or posting pictures on social media. This behavior has become the new normal in society. There are many positive aspects of this trend. However, unfortunately, along with social media comes social comparison. Whether or not they admit it, people tend to compare themselves with others they see in their social media feeds. Although social media has become a popular way to connect, you may wonder about the impact of social media on mental health.

This blog will discuss the impact of social media on mental health, how to navigate social media during recovery, and what to do when social media becomes overwhelming.

The Impact of Social Media and Connection

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), studies have found an association between time spent on social media, the number of social media platforms used, and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Social media has the same effect on the brain as playing slot machines or scratch-off tickets. Since you do not know what’s contained in the app before you open it, this produces an excited anticipatory feeling that creates a surge of dopamine. Next, dopamine moves throughout the body, creating a feeling of euphoria. These euphoric feelings create a desire for more.

Artificial vs. Real Connection

Social media tends to trick your brain into believing that you are connecting with others. While you may be sharing some sort of connection, most times you are focused on how many people are paying attention to your posts or commenting. For example, if you post and do not get the feedback that you desire, feelings of disappointment or invalidation may surface.

It is important to note that social media connection should never replace real human connection. As a human, you need a personal connection to thrive and be your best self. Making an actual in-person connection should make you happier, healthier, and overall a better version of yourself.

The Healthy Impact of Social Media

Social media is a blend of excitement and perceptions. When utilized with a sense of balance, the impact of social media does not have to be negative. For example, you may use social media to connect with family members who live miles away. Additionally, you may join online recovery meetings or take a class to learn a new skill.

For the majority of people, the impact of social media can be negative because it is a way to avoid many things. Often it is easier to avoid situations by acting like you are busy rather than confronting them. Social media provides this distraction for everyone. This method of avoidance of people and situations has become so common that it can be hard to acknowledge and address it.

Is the Impact of Social Media Addictive?

How much social media is too much? Because everyone is different, there is no specific amount of social media that has a negative impact on your life. Rather, the impact of social media is related to how it affects your mood, relationships, and motivations. For instance, social media may be an issue if you are using it to avoid your relationship. Your use may be excessive for you if it causes you to feel negative, angry, anxious, or depressed. Similarly, if you are using social media because you are bored or lonely, it may be time to adjust your habits.

As mentioned above, one impact of social media is that the chemical dopamine is released in the brain. This chemical creates excitement within your body. Your brain is wired to connect and to seek out that excitement no matter what form it comes in. This is where the impact of social media can be dangerous to your recovery. For example, your 12-Step program starts in an hour and you get stuck scrolling through old photos of yourself. You were happy before. However, sadness comes over you as you glamourize the life you once participated in. This could be the start of an emotional relapse.

Warning Signs of Unhealthy Behaviors on Social Media

It is unlikely that you or someone you know will eliminate social media in its entirety. However, it is important to explore ways you can curb the negative impact of social media during your recovery. It is important during your recovery to recognize warning signs of the negative impact of social media:

  • Increased loneliness, anxiety, and/or depression
  • Comparing yourself to others with feelings of envy or jealousy
  • Being cyberbullied
  • Spending less time with those that you care about
  • Noticing that your recovery is suffering

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these warning signs, try and limit yourself to a specific amount of time per day on social media. This may mean setting a timer or limiting yourself to just evenings to reduce the impact of social media in recovery. Sometimes a break from social media is necessary. For example, you may choose a day of the week to have a social media “pause.” This can be a sort of detox for your brain to reset.

Logging Into The Guest House

No matter where you are in your recovery, The Guest House can guide you to where you want to be. We specialize in meeting you right where you are in your recovery. From the moment you cross the threshold of our facility, the atmosphere is genuinely welcoming and warm. Like all of us, you have faced so many things in your life. Now you deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and care.

The Guest House’s scenery, on 52 acres in Silver Spring, Florida, provides peace and tranquility that facilitates healing. What’s more, you’ll find a connection to peers and unconditional positive regard no matter what you are going through.

Understanding how social media can affect your recovery can be life-changing. The impact that social media can have on your mental health is essential to explore during recovery. At times, you may not even realize how much time you spend scrolling through social media. You may be fearful of missing out and lack the understanding that you are enough without social media. However, you have worked too hard to get to this point in your recovery. You don’t need to place more stress on yourself. If you or someone you know struggles with social media and feels it is having a negative impact on recovery, give The Guest House a call at (855) 483-7800.