Sometimes it’s hard to separate the legitimate concerns about social media from the hysteria. For example, there was a mild panic about social media addiction. While it’s true that social media platforms are designed to be as addictive as possible, most experts agree that comparing social media addiction to alcohol or opioid addiction is absurd. However, that doesn’t mean social media is good for you. Here are some of the ways social media may make you feel worse.

More depression and anxiety

Several studies have linked social media use to more feelings of depression and anxiety. One study from the University of Pennsylvania divided 140 students into two groups. Once group continued its regular social media use and the other group limited its social media use to 10 minutes a day. The researchers used phone data to make sure the students’ estimates were accurate. The researchers found that the students who limited their social media use to 10 minutes a day for three weeks felt much better by the end of the study, reporting they felt less depressed and lonely. The effect was especially pronounced among students with a history of depression.

More comparisons

One of the main reasons social media is thought to provoke feelings of depression and loneliness is that it leads to comparisons. You see everyone else’s highlight reel in your social media feeds and you feel like a loser. Another study, from York University, specifically asked young women to interact with a post by someone they felt was more attractive than themselves. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the women felt worse about their own appearance after these interactions. And this effect isn’t limited to appearances. The same thing happens when you look at posts by people you perceive to be smarter or more successful than you are.

Less real-life socializing

Ironically, social media has led to less real-life social interaction. Commenting on Facebook posts or liking your friends’ Instagram pictures sort of feels like you’re staying in touch but these are superficial interactions. Even worse, people do get together with friends only to spend the whole time looking at their phones. Genuine social connection is crucial for good mental health. It reduces stress and creates a feeling of belonging. Social media is best used to make plans to do things with friends and family in real life.

At Alta Lama Transformational Services, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Lama uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.