How is social media affecting your depression and anxiety?

April 1, 2020

Millions of people worldwide are active in social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, or Instagram, you probably know a handful of friends or family using one or more of these platforms.

Many of these platforms claimed to help bring people together but this doesn’t seem to be the case for all. This is especially true for those who are already struggling mentally.

Research shows that there is a link between the use of social media and feeling depressed and lonely.

What’s the connection?

In the study published by the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 143 undergraduates of the University of Pennsylvania were randomly assigned to either a limited use of social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat) or to continue using these platforms as usual for three weeks.

At the end of the study, it revealed that students who were assigned to limited social media use experienced significant reductions in their anxiety and fear of missing out compared to those in the control group (the group who continued to use social media as usual).

How can social media affect us negatively?

According to psychologists, the negative effects of social media may have something to do with the curated life depicted in these platforms and the fear of missing out

Although some of us are aware that many of the lives depicted in social media are curated, flipping on these images and/or stories several times in a day can get into our heads. We may start comparing ourselves and feel inadequate in different areas. And if one already has issues with self-esteem or confidence, the heavy use of social media can ultimately take a toll on one’s mental health.

When your family and friends are into social media and you see them posting fun stuff and you’re not there, you may start feeling left out. This fear of missing out can make you feel more depressed and isolated even if your relationship with those people remains unchanged.

Should you quit social media?

If you start feeling the negative effects of social media especially on your mental health, you may want to consider cutting back on the time you spend on them. 

Depression and anxiety are serious mental health issues. If you’re suffering from any of these, seek help immediately. 

If you’re already taking medications and they don’t seem to work for you, you may want to consider other treatment alternatives like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy.

NeurOasis TMS offers this noninvasive therapy for depression, anxiety, and more. Unlike medications, TMS therapy doesn’t have serious side effects (the most common side effect is a headache). 

If you’d like to know more about how it works, you can schedule an appointment with us by calling (520) 338-2557.

 

References:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/social-media-use-increases-depression-and-loneliness