Is social media linked to the developemet of various mental disorders?

Social media is currently a vital component of enhancing communication amongst friends and families through the sharing of personal content. The use of social media platforms has gone a notch higher, especially among young adults who are striving to develop their identities, for self-promotion, as well as establishing their social norms. The sharing of information and ideas through the Internet or mobile platforms is facilitated by social media. According to research, most of the people who access the Internet using personal computers spend 20% of their online time on accessing social media sites while those who use phones utilize 30% . This study points out that social media is heavily linked to the development of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression in people.

Studies also show that social media has positive and negative influences on the mental health of young people from 14 to 35 years. The researchers recommend changes to be made to protect the young kids and adolescents from the negative impacts of social media such as Internet addiction and low self-esteem without interfering with the positive aspects like sharing of experiences by the sick, ethnic minorities, among other minority groups.

In the following article, we shall discuss some of the mental disorders which are particularily triggered by excessive usage of social media.

The list

Various studies have associated the use of social media with reduced subjective mood, life contentment, and comfort. The studies blame too much loneliness and decreased people bonding on the passive use of social media content in place of face-to-face communication. This is perhaps due to the envious feelings about other people and the unfounded belief that they are more successful and happier in their lives than the social media user. As a result, the envious person may feel inferior and depressed with time.

What we, as conventional social media users need to realize is that all our “influencers” are not leading their best lives at all points of time in their lives.

Various studies indicate a relationship between the use of social media and undesirable results, for instance, high levels of loneliness, narcissism, depression, and uncontrollable behaviors. Too much social media utilization by young adults leads to an increase of the negative impacts. This is because in the race of gaining more and more followers and trying to ‘seem’ like a better version of yourself than you are, we often tend to forget to make real life human connections.

Research establishes that learners who spend much of their time in social media have a lower sense of worth as compared to the ones who use lesser time on the platforms. In turn, low self-esteem makes an individual vulnerable to depressive mental disorders or worsens the conditions. It was also found out that students with many friends on Facebook had few live interactions with their college mates and were likely to experience high levels of loneliness. 

Research also associates high social media usage with raised level of anxiousness. Younger generations were found to experience higher levels of anxiety than adults when they failed to access their social networks and text messages. Children also tend to become less outspoken, confident and open when they spend all their time on social media.

The people who are preoccupied with social media use also spend most of their time seated and have little time for physical exercises. As a result, they become vulnerable to sedentary behaviors, the activities that mainly include sitting or lying. These behaviors have been associated with physical health issues such as obesity, heart diseases, and high blood pressure. Simply, taking up more oxygen through physical excercises or going out in the nature can reverse these physical and mental conditions.

The mobile devices such as computers and smartphones, if utilized for the access of social media sites, interrupt the natural sleep cycles of the users. The screens of these devices release high amounts of artificial blue light whcih can hinder the chemical working of our brains. People with daily high usage of social media report that sometimes, they don’t feel sleepy at all.

High social media usage is linked with negative thoughts as well as feelings of guilt about your unproductivity which puts the user in the “feedback loop from hell” where he/she constantly feels guilty about feeling guilty thereafter. Overall, researches conclude than people who consume a controlled amount of technology and especially social media, are likely to lead better lives than the ones who don’t.