Recent studies have shown a significant link between the use of social media sites like Facebook and an increase in depression and anxiety. This is particularly true among college students, but social media can also affect teenagers and the working class.
But what causes mental health issues when using social media, and how can you prevent it from affecting you? In this post, we’ve provided valuable information on how social media can increase anxiety and depression and how to deal with these mental health issues.
Constant Negative Content
Facebook and Twitter are social media platforms where people commonly rotate negative content. You may see images or videos depicting violent crimes, abuse toward animals, or hate speech. Although these platforms work tirelessly by blocking sensitive content, sometimes, it slips through the cracks.
Additionally, people tend to disagree with each other on social media platforms causing arguments and fights among friends and family. Being constantly exposed to negative content can take its toll on your mental health. You may even feel as if there isn’t anything good left in the world due to all the negativity you’re seeing.
If you start experiencing a surge in anxiety and depression caused by social media, you have online therapy options to assist you. You can open up to a professional about your concerns and the problems you’re facing.
The advantage is that you have the option of talking to someone anonymously if you feel more comfortable keeping your identity confidential. You should always seek help if you’re experiencing mental health issues before it worsens.
Online Bullying Leads to Suicide
Surveys show that participants who’ve experienced cyberbullying are four times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and attempts. Some victims aren’t lucky enough to survive their suicide attempts. Major cyberbullying and suicide cases include the story of Megan Meier and Tyler Clementi.
These stories remind people how cyberbullying can affect one’s mental state. Online bullying is prevalent among high school students because messages aren’t monitored by guardians or parents. Furthermore, victims rarely come forward when they’re being harassed through social media.
There is a way that cyber bullying can be stopped. Social media platforms have made it easier for users to block and report individuals based on the messages they send. Parents should also monitor their children’s social media accounts to prevent unsolicited messages.
FOMO Can Increase Feelings of Being Unwanted
One of the leading causes of anxiety linked to social media is the fear of missing out (FOMO). You may feel that if you don’t join a social media platform, you’ll miss important information or invitations to events. Missed experiences can cause a surge in stress and anxiety.
When users look online and realize they’ve been excluded from events with friends or family, they may feel as if people don’t want them around. These feelings can even disrupt your sleep because you’ll constantly wonder what’s wrong with you. You may also perform poorly at work or school.
The best way to prevent FOMO is to minimize your use of social media and perhaps create your own events that people can attend. Plan dinner parties or road trips with friends and family and invite people who you have strong relationships with. The more time you spend with people, the more you’ll realize that social media isn’t important.
Artificial Dopamine Release
The reason why people post on social media often is that likes and comments from others provide a major dopamine release. But what people don’t realize is that this dopamine release is artificial and only makes you feel happy for a short while.
These platforms are designed to be addictive, so you keep coming back for more. Results on social media are unpredictable because you won’t know how many interactions your post will receive. So you keep checking the site to see the results. Sometimes when the results are below your expectations, you may experience feelings of inadequacy.
Depression increases when you don’t get enough likes or comments on selfies you post. To prevent this, consider not posting on social media, especially if it’s content where you’re seeking validation from others.
Instead, you can engage in activities that produce dopamine in a healthy manner. Read a book, create art or reach a short-term goal to boost your confidence and lower your risk of anxiety and depression.
Comparing Yourself to Others Can Lead to Depression
When scrolling through social media, you’ll see many acquaintances living their best lives. Or so it may seem. You may feel jealous that someone has a better house than you or can afford to go on a luxurious holiday. Comparing yourself to others can increase depression and stress levels.
Consider a technology purge if you’re starting to compare yourself to others. Use other people’s achievements as inspiration to reach your own goals. Remember that what you see on social media isn’t always 100% true. Your friend may look happy in her condo, but she may be experiencing her own problems.
The best way to prevent an increase in depression and anxiety is to stay off social media and live in the moment. Use the tips in this article to guide you.