At first look, social media seems great. You can interact at the click of a mouse with almost anyone in the world, anywhere. You can reconnect with old friends and maintain existing close relationships.
Yet social media, for its tremendous reach, has its downsides. We see and hear about them every day. It makes you wonder if there is a connection between social media and depression, anxiety, or other types of mental illness. Does this connection warrant a depression treatment program?
The data are mixed, though the anecdotes aren’t favorable. Still, as with anything, when used in moderation, social media can be a positive.
Social Media and Depression
Over the time of its existence, social media has re-shaped communication and interpersonal relationships. It has also created a fair share of problems, especially for young people. That’s why many people make the link between social media and depression.
Researchers have identified several negative aspects of spending time on social media. In fact, social media can cause the following issues:
- Make you feel inadequate
- Increase the “fear of missing out”
- Increase loneliness
- Make you a target for bullies
- Encourage selfish thinking
The possible link between social media and depression can lead to deeper problems, such as drug and alcohol abuse when choosing to self-medicate.
Depression and Substance Abuse
Statistically speaking, someone who abuses drugs or alcohol is at higher risk of emotional problems, such as depression. The opposite is also true — depression can lead to substance abuse. So, the link between social media and depression is deeply problematic.
If you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue, you have what’s called a co-occurring disorder. Co-occurring disorders require a carefully integrated course of treatment, called dual diagnosis treatment, which includes:
- Assessment and evaluation
- Building a treatment plan
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Addiction and mental health counseling
- Aftercare and alumni services
Each case is a little different, but in general, this is what to expect in addressing co-occurring disorders.
Reach of Social Media
In what really is just a short amount of time, social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook have exploded across the globe. The data are staggering. Facebook, in its most recent financial report to the government, estimated it has almost 2.5 billion active monthly users — a third of the world’s population.
Facebook is by far the largest network, but the names of the others — YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram — have their own audiences that number in the hundreds of millions if not the billions. Networks across Asia are exploding as well.
It’s certainly created a series of mixed messages when it comes to anxiety and other mental health issues. A 2018 survey of teenagers by Harvard University found conflicting feelings. Many teens were excited to connect with friends or exhibit their passions, but also felt rather overwhelmed by how much time social media consumed and by how they might be judged.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Social media has changed how we relate to each other. It also brings out enormous new pressures as it’s now so easy to compare yourself with friends and family. You’re also exposed to a lot of negativity. These are the mechanisms that prompt researchers to wonder about the link between social media and depression.
If you or a loved one is depressed, and if it has led to substance abuse, it’s time to reach out for help from a facility such as Wellness Counseling Vida Entera. Our treatment center in Lake Elsinore, CA can help you get away from social media triggers for depression and substance abuse.