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Social Media: Effects on Mental Health

By October 31, 2019 December 19th, 2019 Blog

During the past 10 years, there has been a rapid development of social media sites, causing several profound changes in the way people communicate and interact. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find someone who is not on Facebook, Instagram or a different popular social media platform. Facebook alone is home to more than one billion active users. This rise in social media has kept the world far more connected. People now have a place to upload snapshots of their lives that can be seen by anyone they choose, and they have the ability to look at others’ lives in the same way.

Recently, however, some researchers have associated online social networking with several psychological disorders, including depressive symptoms, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Since social networks are a relatively new phenomenon, many questions regarding their potential impact on mental health remain unanswered. On the other hand, due to the popularity of these online services in the general population, any future confirmed the connection between them and psychological disorders would pose a serious public health concern.

Several studies have indicated that the prolonged use of Social Networking Sites (SNS), such as Facebook, may be related to signs and symptoms of depression. In addition, some authors have indicated that certain SNS activities might be associated with low self-esteem, especially in children and adolescents.

Researchers and some social media app developers have stated that social media, especially spending long periods of time on it, is not good for a person’s mental health. Limiting time on social media considerably, and reconnecting with friends and family in real life, is definitely the healthier alternative.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes such as increased blood pressure. Other signs and symptoms of anxiety include: 

  • Shaking or trembling 
  • Constant fear of impending danger, panic, or doom
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge
  • Hyperventilating (breathing rapidly), sweating, and/or trembling
  • Weakness and exhaustion 
  • Gastrointestinal problems 

Anxiety can be very common and typically does not need treatment. However, if an individual’s anxiety is persistent, they may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a specific set of psychological disorders that involve extreme fear or worry. There are several types of anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic disorder and panic attacks, and social anxiety disorder. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is defined as excessive and persistent worry about a variety of different things. People with GAD tend to anticipate disaster and tend to be overly concerned about things such as money, work, health, family, or other issues. This worry can lead to anxiety attacks, which are intensive moments of worry and fear. Individuals with GAD struggle to control their worries and panic even when there is no need to worry or panic over anything. 

GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, with women being twice as likely to be affected. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, research suggests that genetics, family life, and life experiences, particularly stressful and traumatic ones, play a role.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), also known as depression, is a chronic mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is far more intense and lasts longer than your typical feelings of sadness or “the blues.” MDD is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States; in the year 2015 alone, nearly 7% of Americans above the age of 18 experienced an episode of MDD.

Many people with MDD never seek treatment. However, most people who suffer from the disorder can get better with treatment. Medications and therapies, such as Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART), can effectively treat people with MDD and help them manage their symptoms.

There are several symptoms associated with MDD, these symptoms include: 

  • Feelings of sadness or irritability nearly every day or most days 
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Lack of energy or being lethargic 
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of interest in most activities once enjoyed 
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Change in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions 
  • Weight loss or weight gain

Early Intervention and Treatment is Critical

Social media is still considered new technology and the exact effects of it are not yet fully understood. However, research does conclude that using social media can result in symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART) is an innovative, evidence-based therapy for both PTS and PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, and similar mental health issues. Initially, the therapy was primarily used to help veterans suffering from PTSD. One of the major advantages is the speed at which ART is able to bring relief. Generally, only one to five sessions are needed, not months or years of expensive psychological treatment. 

Accelerated Resolution Therapy works by reprogramming the traumatic memories that are preventing an individual from enjoying the full life they deserve. The therapy works equally well on other mental health diagnoses.

Do not let anxiety and depression caused by social media take control of your life. There is always hope, even when you feel there is none. Contact ART International Training and Research to learn more about the therapy or to find a therapist near you.