The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

social media

Publish date

Jun 22, 2021

Post Author

Healthy U Behavioral Health


As technology continues to develop, so does the everlasting fascination for it. This year the twelfth iPhone was released, and flip phones are now what beepers were to the older generation. The more that technology grows, the more social media and streaming drag along behind it. Everyone is attached to their phones one way or another. While social media can be an excellent tool for communication and fun, it also can take a toll on your mental health. Learning about the various effects of social media may help you learn how to limit your phone use. 

Social Media’s Affect on Mental Health

Studies show that occasional users of social media are almost three times less likely to be depressed than frequent users. Half an hour of social media is an excellent place to land. Those who use social media for two hours or more are more likely to suffer from mental disorders. Social media tends to make people compare their lives to the lives of others. Seeing others happy, traveling, partying, drinking, and having fun when you’re not doing those fun activities can be challenging. However, social media also has the potential to make you feel good through the release of dopamine.

Dopamine is also released through addictive activities such as substance use, sex, eating, and gambling. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are designed to be addictive. Think about the intention behind posting on social media. Often people use it to boost their self-esteem to feel like they belong. Social media is all about getting positive reinforcement. This is why people are constantly checking their phones for something new. Through this, you find the need for comparisons. Ultimately searching for validation can result in poor mental health. 

Age of Technology 

There are various factors to how social media will affect you. Typically, the younger an individual is when they start using social media, the more likely they are to develop mental health disorders. Social media also affects women more than men. Spending too much time on social media increases your chances of experiencing verbal abuse from peers. In this day and age, everyone has a voice that can be heard. It’s becoming harder to filter out certain content you consume if you choose to use social media. Social media has a way of distorting reality and making people think that everyone is living a better life than them. There was a period where the magazine’s slim model was the cause of insecurities, but now you can see them at the swipe of a screen. Between filters that change your skin tone and whiten your teeth, reality can be warped in this digital age. When people look in the mirror, they do not see what they see on social media, lowering self-esteem and affecting mental health. 

Understand Your Triggers 

Everyone has a different threshold of how much social media they can handle before negatively affecting their mental health. Part of growing and learning is properly assessing yourself. Take control of the little bit that you can. You have the power to control who you follow—only you choose who you follow and engage with. Handpick the type of content that you want on your page. There are plenty of uplifting and motivational pages you can follow instead of celebrities and the people you compete with from down the street. When you understand your triggers, you will be able to filter your content. Therefore, you see less of what negatively affects your self-esteem. 

Social Media Detox 

Too much social media can result in anxiety and depression. Social media creates a world where someone thinks everybody else around them is perfect. However, nobody is perfect. The idea of people changing their appearance or creating a facade of a lavish life they may not be living can ultimately be triggering. Social media should be used in a controlled system that we all develop as individuals. Detox from social media benefits anyone who regularly uses their phone and feels negatively affected by it. Although many use social media to keep up with family and work, there are still ways to wean yourself off. 

There are multiple considerations when trying to detox from social media. Putting up your phone after a specific time of night is a great start. Another recommendation is to put your phone away at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Not only will this help your sleep, which can improve mental health, but it will also allow you to manage the amount of time spent on social media. You can even think about putting your phone away after dinner. This way, you can spend time with any family at home or take that time to take care of yourself.

Social media plays a significant role in our daily lives. Almost everyone has at least one form of social media. Take control of your social media usage, and you will see a change in how you view yourself. Social media creates unrealistic expectations of your appearance, career, and relationships. Taking an occasional break or regulating social media usage will allow you to stay in touch with your reality. You must realize how important it is to set aside time to get in tune with yourself. Social media strips away self-awareness. You become caught up in what you don’t have instead of what you do have. The result is more symptoms of anxiety or depression. Taking control of how much you use social media now can help prevent symptoms of mental health disorders in the future. If you are suffering because of an imbalance in your mental health, HealthyU can help. Call us at (619) 542-9542.