Mental health is just as important as physical health. In fact, it is so important that World Health Organization statistics show that mental illness will be the primary source of disability by 2030. In today’s world, it can be extremely challenging to keep up with all the different social media platforms – and the mental health disorders caused by social media. Not all online communities are beneficial for your mental health. In fact, in a recent study from Common Sense Media, young adults (aged 18-25) reported lower self-esteem after activities such as browsing Instagram, which was the platform they reported having the most negative impact on their self-image. Indeed, the adverse mental health consequences as a result of Instagram addiction are well-documented by Facebook's own internal findings.
What is Social Media?
Social media is a collection of various online platforms such as Facebook that allow people to connect, share information, and express themselves. Popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Reddit. Social media is particularly popular among younger generations. For example, Pew Research Center found that 73% of teens use social media. There is no one reason why people use social media, but many engage in these platforms for entertainment, relationship maintenance, and information seeking.
How Does Social Media Affect Our Mental Health?
Social media has the potential to positively affect our mental health. For example, it can be used for self-expression, support from a community of like-minded people, and information-seeking. On the other hand, social media may negatively affect our mental health by increasing social comparisons and promoting negativity. Social comparisons happen when people look at others’ lives and wish things were different. For example, someone might look through friends’ Instagram feeds and wish they had the same lifestyle. These types of comparisons can make people feel inferior and dissatisfied with their own lives. Social media can also be a place where people can express negativity. Someone might post an Instagram photo and receive a lot of likes and comments, but then feel disappointed that their photo did not receive even more likes and comments. More posts like this can lead to feelings of low self-worth. As a result, social media addiction and the adverse mental health consequences as a result of Instagram and other mental health disorders caused by social media is on the rise in adolescents and become well-documented problem adolescents are facing in ever-increasing numbers.
The Link Between Depression and Social Media Usage
Depression is a mental illness that can make people feel sad, hopeless, and empty. People with depression often find it hard to do everyday activities because they do not feel like doing anything other than lying in bed all day. Researchers have studied the link between social media usage and depression. They have found that people who spend more time on social media are more likely to report higher levels of depression. One study that followed more than 800 college students over a semester found that those who used Facebook more frequently reported higher levels of depression. There are a couple of potential explanations for the effects of social media on mental health such as depression. First, people who are depressed often spend more time on social media than healthy people because they do not feel like doing anything else. Second, people who fail to recognize their depressive symptoms may mistakenly believe that staying on social media is okay because it does not feel like a real waste of time.
The Link Between Anxiety and Social Media Usage
Anxiety is a mental health disorder that causes people to worry excessively about everyday situations, such as making a presentation at work or driving on the highway. People who have anxiety disorders often have a hard time functioning because of their constant worrying. Many studies that have investigated the link between social media usage and anxiety have found that people who spend more time on social media have higher levels of anxiety. In one survey that followed over 2,000 people, researchers found that people who visited social media sites more than 10 times per day had higher levels of anxiety compared to those who visited fewer times per day. Another study that followed 943 college students over an academic term found that anxiety was higher among those who used social media more frequently. Thus, the more addicted to social media someone becomes increases the effects of social media on mental health.
The Link Between Bipolar Disorders and Social Media Usage
Bipolar disorders are mental illnesses characterized by extreme changes in energy, mood, and behavior. These mood swings often happen quickly and unpredictably, which makes it difficult for people with bipolar disorders to maintain relationships. Bipolar disorders are many times triggered by stressful life events, such as losing a loved one or going through a break-up. In one study that followed adults who had recently experienced stressful life events, researchers found that people with bipolar disorders were more likely to use social media.
As the number of adolescents who become addicted to social media rises, so too will the effects of social media on mental health. This is only compounded when the companies that own these social media platforms own studies have documented the adverse effects of social media on mental health, including the adverse mental health consequences as a result of Instagram addiction. If you have suffered a mental disorder as a result of social media addiction, you may want to contact a social media mental health lawyer.
Timothy L. Miles, Esq.
Timothy L. Miles is a nationally recognized shareholder rights attorney raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Miles was recentely selected by Martindale-Hubbell® and ALM as a 2022 Top Ranked Lawyer, 2022 Top Rated Litigator. and a 2022 Elite Lawyer of the South. Mr. Miles also maintains the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, their highest rating for both legal ability and ethics. Mr. Miles is a member of the prestigious Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers: The National Trial Lawyers Association, a superb rated attorney by Avvo, a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by Premier Lawyers of America (2019) and recognized as a Distinguished Lawyer, Recognizing Excellence in Securities Law, by Lawyers of Distinction (2019).
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