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Social Media and Mental Health

A college student who has been quite interested in the relationship between mental health and internet usage.

social-media-and-effects-on-mental-health

1.Social Life

Social media’s main purpose was to connect people altogether and eliminate all sorts of barriers. People seem connected but in reality, are distanced far apart. They find more ease in talking online on some apps than in real life. The social structure of modern society seems to be crimpling day by day. It’s having to do with the casual use of social media in everyday work. It affects our ability to interact with our coworkers and people whom we meet daily like Neighbours, family members, etc. They sense the distance increasing between them and one of the two or even both of them drift away from each other. This severely affects productivity.

A study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics states that the increasing use of social media is negatively affecting the mental health of the young generation. It is providing an unlimited amount of entertainment and joy but the main time it is messing with the dopamine receptors.

It makes the young fade the difference between what is real entertainment and when this happens, it makes them go out of limits to satisfy themselves. This leads to unethical methods like sexting and online nudity.

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2.lack of motivation

Social media mainly includes so-called influencers who love to flaunt their possessions and represent the image of the perfect life. But as we all have come to know that the reality doesn’t have to be just that. The realization of this fact just isn’t enough to cut it. It unknowingly works in the back of the user's mind and gives people an inner feeling of inferiority. This makes them compare themselves with other people with who they have nothing to do with. The result is that the heavy user ends up thinking that everything he does isn’t good enough and no matter what he won’t ever be happy. Because he thinks he needs such a similar scenario to attain Eternal joy. This is wrong on so many different levels and it’s a dangerous mindset to have. Even though the content was intended to motivate the user but it ends up doing the complete opposite.

According to a study by Nottingham Trent University, the addiction ends up leading the addict to personality disorders and further issues like depression and anxiety. These characteristics show behavior that may not be noticeable by the addict but they sure give a bad impression.


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3.Withdrawal Issues.

The severity of this addiction can be judged by the issues it causes and even if one realizes the problem, it doesn’t just end there. There is still the motivation needed to exit this harmless-seeming addiction. On average the people who take this as a problem, only consider it after they have experienced its effects. The longer the time a person has been an addict determines the time it will take him to leave it. After that the addict has to make efforts like avoiding taking it with them in public places, turning off notifications, finding other hobbies to engage themselves in, etc. After overcoming it there are also the withdrawal symptoms that are experienced.

A study by Swansea University shows us the extent of these symptoms which include blood pressure and heart rate complications and psychological issues like mood swings and state anxiety. These kinds of symptoms greatly affect how our brain works in the long run and even the person experiencing them can sense the sudden Fellings after not using Instagram for a while.

social-media-and-effects-on-mental-health

4.Experiencing lesser happiness.

Most of the young adults who are caught in the clutches of social apps are exposed to fakeness in such an organized way that things seem normal at first but in the back end of your mind, it disrupts the chemical background. Now a fascinating thing about our brain is that it cannot differentiate between what is real and what is not. Just like sometimes we consider things we saw in a dream a reality when we wake up. Now how this simple process translates into the use of social media is that people start forgetting the importance of their own life. This is a really bad mindset to have, but this is a reality. They slowly fade away from all their social circles because when in the gatherings of their loved ones, because they constantly think about real situations which have nothing to do with them. This can cause depression in a way because it makes the addict think that the issue is inside other people, while in reality he/she is the true cause of it.

A study a few years ago found out that regular users of just one app (Facebook) have been reported to experience a loss of moment-to-moment enjoyment and lesser life satisfaction. It goes the same for all the other apps, needless to say, that the slightest of ways social media can affect our mental health.

social-media-and-effects-on-mental-health

5.Jealousy  

The nature of applications like Facebook and Instagram makes it so that you are constantly notified of the posts of other people who are in daily life connected with you deeply. People only post stuff that they find good in life, most of the time they might end up posting about events or actions that look good to others even if they are not having a good time. But what does this end up doing for the viewers is that it ends up making them jealous of their friends and family members? Seeing their achievements, progression and their perfect circumstances makes people anxious and stressed beyond help. Behind all the negativity is just jealousy of someone close. It is even difficult for some people who are older to admit, which makes things even worse.

Studies have shown that people of all ages, mostly young have reported jealousy of their friends and the reasons can be anything like their obedient children, their perfect job, their possessions, etc. This can be dangerous because when people live in the shadows of others, they forget their worth. Downgrading themselves is the worst thing social media addicts can do.

social-media-and-effects-on-mental-health

6.Relapse Issues

People who are aware of the dire situation are eager to get out but they keep on coming back. The thing is that using social media is not a crime, not using the internet and not relying on it for some things can be a huge disadvantage. The problem arises when people rely on it for things it isn’t supposed to do. Overuse of it can have serious problems is the issue, as Phil Reed (study author) has stated that “people who are over-dependent on social media not only report feelings of anxiety when they stop using those apps but now, we have seen that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual psychological changes.”

These changes can permanently stick with the person and affect their whole life. The thing is that social media affects mental health in a way that temporary fixes like not using it for a week or month to see changes don’t help and only make matters worse. Studies have shown that the more apps like Facebook are used the more the unnecessary sense of meaninglessness of things is felt by the users.

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Conclusion:

So, we know the disturbing facts about how these sites and apps affect our mental health which has the same importance as our physical health. What do we need to do to keep our minds healthy? The following are the points found to be most helpful according to studies:

  1. Be patient and slowly but steadily reducing time.
  2. Stop posting frequently until you stop completely unless the content is work-related.
  3. Stop following trends.
  4. Turn off the notifications.
  5. Assign a fixed time to use social media apps.
  6. Stop the habit of killing time using social media.
  7. Stop using social media while having meals or doing work
  8. Eventually, remove the applications that are for just entertainment purposes. Only keep apps that are used for communication purposes.
  9. Find other hobbies to do and focus extensively on your job or work.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Muhammad Zohaib

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