Since the rise of social media in the early 2000’s mental health experts have questioned its effects on the human psyche. Fast forward more than 20 years later, its effects are evident in everyday behaviour and it is fast becoming one of the most common addictions in western society.
Social Media Addiction Is A Real Disorder
In 2013 Internet addiction was officially included in DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). This means that social media addiction is a credible threat and human beings are at risk if they do not practice healthy protocols.
In 2004 there were zero searches for social media addiction and drug addiction searches were at an all-time high. Since early 2013, “social media addiction” related searches have surpassed “drug addiction” related searches reaching their peak popularity in February 2020 and again in April 2022.
However, we are by no means implying that social media addiction is worse than drug addiction. But simply that threat is real and the general populous is experiencing this trend.
We chatted to some of our local doctors in Nambia about the effects it has on the human mind, which we will take a closer look at now. If you feel your mental health is compromised due to excessive social media use, we urge you to visit your health practitioner for a check-up.
If used responsibly and practised in critical thinking, it have some positive effects and benefits. Social media platforms can help:
1.Build relationships and help people stay connected.
2. Helps users make new friends
3. Give you access to a wealth of resources and help increase skillsets.
4. Connect with like-minded people who have the same common goal.
5. Motivate & Inspire
6. Spread News and Information Quickly
7. Build your business & drive exposure
8. Act as a customer service platform
If used excessively, it can become harmful.
If used irresponsibly, social media can be harmful to your mental and physical health. Mental Health professionals as well as teaching professionals, around the world, have reported a number of negative links to it, especially among the adolescent youth.
Social Media can be a contributing factor to:
1. Feelings of anxiety and loneliness.
2. Eating disorders in young girls as use contributes to low self-esteem, self-worth and body image
3. Increased Reports of Depression
4. The spread of Fake News & Harmful Advice
6. Addiction and compulsive checking
7. Decreased Muscle Tone
8. Sleep deprivation and poor concentration.
Adolescents are already at risk of all the above without the influence of social media.
Practice Good Etiquette
Tap into the benefits, we recommend practising mindfulness. To avoid being victim to the harmful effects of it we compiled a list of good and bad etiquette.
Avoid The These Bad Social Habits
- Don’t focus on the number of likes and followers you have.
- Try not to browse when you feel lonely or self-destructive.
- Do not compare yourself to other users, especially celebrities or influencers.
- Avoid following toxic accounts and people.
Practice Good Social Media Habits
- Keep your phone switched off for one hour after waking.
- Follow People and accounts that inspire you and make you happy.
- Post pictures of moments you treasure and that make you happy
- Use it as a way to learn more about different points of interest.
- Set a daily limit to using it.
- If negative feelings arise after using it, backtrack behaviour and try to find the source. Take action by unfollowing or avoiding accounts that illicit self-shaming feelings within you.
- Avoid constantly checking your phone.
Be Mindful When Using Social Media
Remember your mental health comes first. Don’t forget to take some time out to connect to the real world. Take breaks without playing or using your phone or start a hobby that does not require screen use.
For more tips on how to cope with social media addictions visit Welwitschiahospital.com.