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What role do social media play in mental health?

Ramiro Guzman
6 min read
What role do social media play in mental health? – Wellness and Health
The impact of social networks on mental balance is increasingly noticeable

More and more studies are being promulgated revealing important data on the negative impact of social networks on the mind. As a result, adolescents and young adults have suffered greatly.

Although social networks have a positive impact on human connection, not everything is rosy. It is essential to specify what the consequences of addictive and off-limits behaviors are.

Social networks and mental disorders: how are they related?

Over time, it has been concluded that social networks and the mental component make up a difficult relationship. Thanks to different investigations, it was found that the exaggerated consumption of these Internet tools is harmful.

Mental disorders are defined as psychobiological conditions of thought, behavior, and emotions.

In short, everything that is related to the cognitive space. In the long run, the motor sphere can also be affected, resulting in marked disability.

Many are the biological, anatomical, environmental and sociocultural factors that influence mental health. But, according to the individual predisposition of each person, they will intensify to a greater or lesser extent.

Undoubtedly, the use of social networks is one of those many factors that disturb and exacerbate mental disorders.

The feeling of isolation resulting from its prolonged use is a welcome for the appearance of psychiatric disorders.

On the other hand, the type of content enjoyed triggers depressive, anxious or compulsive symptoms. They reinforce "toxic" behaviors such as narcissism, bullying, dependence, bipolarity, among others.

What role do social media play in mental health? – Wellness and Health
Bullying in social networks is the main cause of depression and anxiety in these cases

Likewise, social networks work with anonymity. Because of this, other psychopathic behaviors such as bullying, verbal violence along with defamation are very common and dangerous. Therefore, it is in the presence of a true problem of public health.

The data revealed by the scientific community

Many studies have been successfully carried out internationally. One of the most prominent was published in the United Kingdom, establishing the following alarming data:

  1. On the global or international spectrum, young people are prone to social media addiction. In 2017, date of publication, it was estimated that around 5% of the jovial population suffered from dependence on them.
  2. The so-called common mental disorders, mainly depression and anxiety, have grown secondary to the use of social networks. An exponential increase of more than 70% of these mental imbalances in the last 25 years was detailed.
  3. An alarming fact is the increasing rate of bullying or cyberbullying on these platforms. Approximately 7 out of 10 young people are victims of threats, racism, insults, defamations and other violent behaviors derived from the situation.
  4. Self-esteem, insomnia, concentration and behavioral problems acquired a greater tendency. In turn, the appearance of the "fear of being ignored" was a sudden fact that spread what an epidemic, but in the fact of the Internet user.

Today, the indiscriminate use of social networks continues to be a factor of extreme vigilance. Access to technology for children under the age of 12 is a tipping point that could be harmful.

Access to social networks without the ideal maturity or without inculcating about its possible dangers, are also triggering causes of psychiatric deviations.

Therefore, the fact that there is a progressive increase in adherents to them at such an early age is a determining topic to highlight in the future.

The top three negative effects of social media

The variety of adverse effects for mental health that are born based on social networks is wide.

But, for practical purposes, the content will be geared towards the top three. According to scientific medical criteria, they are the ones that have brought the greatest consequences for jovial society:

Common mental disorders

The appearance of common mental disorders is the outcome of a combination of various factors of a different nature.

Both anxiety and depression are experienced by teens and young adults related to the use of such platforms.

Depressive and anxious symptoms condition the perspective of life in a general way. Fashions, trends, or certain kinds of content foster competition, envy, and a need to look like what is shown on screen.

Over time, social pressure increases to exacerbate anxious or compulsive behaviors. On the other hand, the inability to achieve a life similar to that reflected in some publications, generates depressive behaviors.

Coupled with cyberbullying, tedious comparisons, racism or perfectionism, the fire of depressive disorders is stoked. And that, in advanced stages, constitutes a real health problem that can lead to suicide.

Cyberbullying or bullying on social media

Emphasizing, approximately 7 out of 10 individuals have been involved in a situation of harassment on the Internet. Anonymity and the ease with which certain messages are disseminated is crucial for their impact to be greater.

Similarly, interactions between school-age youth has escalated to a significant level.

Social networks keep them in contact, but it represents an open window for the continuation of the harassment.

In short, it is not only faced with a scenario that involves a limited space such as the student environment. If not that, a posteriori, it becomes a bigger problem that involves the participation of others on the Internet.

Without specialized help and emotional support, depression is the end result. Therefore, it is convenient to quickly identify the chains of bullying to nip a major inconvenience in the bud.

Decreased self-esteem

Comparisons are inevitable in these media, increasing the distortion of personal image.

The feeling of wanting to look like certain idols, characters or influencers on the platforms is present in this age range.

Paradoxically, this same feeling leads to the consolidation of certain social standards. Prejudices that start in social networks and are deeply rooted in society. Ultimately, it leads to problems of acceptance, loving one's own, anxiety and depression.

What role do social media play in mental health? – Wellness and Health
Low self-esteem is a negative circumstance that cannot be ignored either

Even international research has shown that exposure to social networks causes radical physical changes in its consumers. From a simple haircut, to the confirmation of cosmetic surgeries in order to experience a greater feeling of being accepted.

Tips so that your mental health is not affected!

Preventing each one of those negative circumstances is possible. The use of social media platforms are not entirely counterproductive, recognizing their positive effects. By following these tips, they can be used excellently:

  1. Be aware when consuming information. Find out more about it and not be left with just one version of the events. Much false news or "fake news" haunt the Internet in order to destabilize and produce controversy.
  2. Not falling for comparisons is crucial for the prevention of mental disorders. Understand and assimilate that the reality shown on social networks by others is not always true. For its part, the acceptance of one's own scenario will reinforce the brain's cognitive apparatus.
  3. Absolutely stay away from posts, discussions or comments with toxic overtones. In this way, the problems associated with harassment, racism and a myriad of these parameters are avoided.