At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we have helped thousands of people recover from chemical dependency and mental health disorders. As we work closely with our clients, we’ve noticed an emerging trend that is crucial to highlight – the impact of social media on mental health.
How Social Media Affects Mental Health
In the age of technology, it’s impossible to ignore the significant role social media plays in our lives. These tools help people stay connected and informed and serve as a hub for networking and relationship-building. But while platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok can be beneficial, they also have multiple mental health drawbacks.
A growing body of research suggests a potential link between excessive social media use and depression in adults. For example, one survey published in JAMA Network Open found that adults may have increased depression symptoms after spending time on social media.
Social media can also contribute to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and even habitual use – which is especially relevant to people recovering from addiction. The potential reasons for this range from unfavorably comparing yourself to others’ seemingly perfect lives to the pressure of maintaining an online presence.
Are You Spending Too Much Time Online?
Recognizing social media overuse is the first step to addressing the problem. Here’s a brief self-test to identify whether you might be overdoing your digital consumption:
- Do you spend several hours on social media every day?
- Do you habitually check for updates throughout the day?
- Have you ever felt distressed or anxious when you aren’t using your smartphone?
- Has your productivity or work quality suffered due to your social media use?
- Has your social media habit spilled over into your real-life relationships?
- Do you feel compelled to overshare details about your life on social media?
- Do you get upset or anxious if your posts don’t garner as many likes or comments as you expected?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, it might be time to consider a digital detox.
Digital Detox: What, Why, and How
A digital detox refers to a period of deliberately stepping away from devices such as your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. The goal is to reduce stress, improve mindfulness, and focus on real-life social interactions without distractions. By doing a digital detox, you can create a healthier balance between your online and offline lives.
A digital detox has several benefits that can boost your mental health:
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased focus, productivity, and ability to live in the moment
- Enhanced relationships
If you’re ready to do a digital detox, here are some ways to get started.
- Set goals: Decide what you want to achieve from your detox. Do you aim to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, or spend more time on a hobby? Having defined objectives can motivate you to stick to your plans.
- Schedule time offline: Designate specific times when you will not use any digital devices. These could be during mealtimes, a few hours before bed, or even a whole day each week.
- Find alternatives: To avoid boredom, fill the time you’d usually spend online with other hobbies like reading, hiking, or journaling.
- Set boundaries: Tell your friends, family, and co-workers that you’re doing a digital detox, so they understand why you might not be as responsive.
- Start small: If a full detox seems daunting, try small steps like installing a digital well-being app that limits your screen time.
Your Mental Well-Being Is Our Priority
While social media can be a beneficial tool, it’s vital to strike a healthy balance in your life. At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we are here to provide support and guidance on your journey to recovery, including navigating the complex world of digital consumption. For more information on our locations, treatment philosophy, and services, please contact us today.