Monday, September 3, 2018

Is Social Media causing mental health issues in people?

They had said that the social media would bring the world closer, would make it merrier. But is that actually how things are turning out to be? If something like this is happening, then it’s probably happening on a surface level. Yes, that’s true, everything is superficial. Social media, believe it or not, is doing more harm than good, contributing towards issues like anxiety and depression, especially in youngsters. 

Humans have a penchant for passing judgments. People are creatures caught in their prejudices, prone to judging everyone we see on the streets: Their clothes. Their hairstyle. Their cars. But passing judgements on others is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it’s a kind of defence mechanism that protected our ancestors, and it still has some use.  We also cannot help comparing ourselves to others and also can’t avoid the need of validation. These are just some habits that make us human. But social media has turned these little habits into something sinister which has led to several health issues. 

A large-scale systematic review of scientific studies conducted by clinical psychologists at Lancaster University in the UK has shown us that the use of social media can lead to depression. This is especially true when study participants reported comparing themselves to other users. Another study which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), determined that those who used social media the most were about 2.7 times more likely to be depressed than participants who used social media the least.

Many studies have demonstrated that using multiple social media platforms are linked with feelings of anxiety and depression. They also showed that the depression and anxiety had a strong relationship with the amount of time spent online. Not only this, but a lot of research conducted have pointed to the uncanny characteristic of social media leading to sleeping disorders. 

Spending a lot of time on social media can lead to negative body image. T.V and other printed mediums were previously blamed for portraying an unrealistic “so-called-ideal” body image to us. Social media has caught up them in making us feel inadequate about how we look, leading to negative body image, self-objectification and eating disorders in teenagers. Viewing and uploading photos and running behind feedback through status updates or viewing fitness pages on Instagram is associated with body image concerns in young men and women. 

Social media can be addictive. Receiving likes and comments on our posts and social interactions via social networking platforms usually results in the release of dopamine in our brains. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward system of our body. High level of dopamine in the bloodstream can lead to addiction. 

Anyone can succumb to the addiction and depression caused by social media, but there are ways to avoid it from happening. Simply turning off the notifications or limiting yourself can do the trick, and getting a new hobby can also help you to cope with depression. 

To summarise, everything used wisely has its benefits, but beyond a limit, even sugar is poison. 


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