Instagram does affect mental health, new research has found. In fact, Instagram doesn’t just affect mental health, it is the worst social media app for mental health. Coming from the UK’s Royal Society For Public Health, the research found that Instagram causes a number of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, body image, and identity issues. Not all Instagram users are affected negatively by interacting with the platform. The study identified young people ages 14-24 as feeling the most impact of using the app. Other studies have found a correlation between how negative of an impact Instagram has on users and how many hours per day users spend on social media, Instagram not being the only one. Increasing amounts of research is revealing that the popular social media sites can cause more harm than good for users. High levels of depression, anxiety, and links to eating disorders are being discovered. Studies have highlighted that interacting with social media sites can produce dopamine the same way that stimulant drugs such as cocaine do. The impulsive need to check social media, engage with social media, post to social media, and track positive feedback on social media is of no innocence either. Social media apps are designed to be an integral part of life. For some, the line between reality, self, and social media, gets blurred.
There are ways to manage mental health and continue using social media. It can be wise to periodically take social media “detoxes” and remove yourself from the sites entirely. Temporarily disable your account, commit to an amount of time not logging in, or have a friend change your passwords. You might be surprised to find that staying off of the websites is difficult to do. You could experience symptoms of technology withdrawal like feeling anxious without checking social media, depressed without social media, or even difficulty sleeping due to obsessive thoughts about social media. Other strategies for managing social media and mental health include cleaning out “friends”, “follows” and “followers”, editing the groups or pages you follow, curating your newsfeeds to only show body positive, happy, and inspiring images, and taking the apps off of your phone.
Compulsive social media use can become a problem which interferes with mental health and the ability to live a quality life. If you feel your relationship with social media has become unmanageable, you are not alone. Cottonwood Tucson offers an integrative approach to treating co-occurring disorders like compulsive behavioral issues. For information, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520.