Posted on March 5, 2019 by Origins
Studies related to social media have been getting a lot of attention in the media for various reasons lately. Some claim social media is addictive, while others say it’s merely habit-forming. Some studies suggest that excessive social media use can damage your mental health, leading to a greater risk of anxiety and depression, while others say this is merely correlation and not causation. If you are just starting out in addiction recovery, this controversy has probably caught your attention. Might social media become a replacement addiction? Might it cause an episode of anxiety or depression that could lead to a relapse? Should you use social media at all in early recovery?
Generally speaking, if you’re just starting out in recovery, it’s probably a good time to take a break from social media. There are a number of reasons. First, there’s almost no downside and there’s potentially a lot of benefits. You can still call and text and you can still see people in person. At worst, you’ll miss some news from people you don’t see or talk to very often. On the upside, you’ll have to live more in the present. Many people, whether they’ve had substance use issues or not, use social media to escape from unpleasant emotions. If they’re bored for a minute, they check social media. If they feel anxious, they check social media. It’s essentially a distraction. You don’t learn to tolerate boredom or confront the source of your anxiety when you have that easy escape. When you’re starting out in recovery, it’s much better to be present with your feelings and learn to manage them.
Second, social media easily slides into unhealthy forms of social interaction. If you’re recovering from addiction, it won’t help to see pictures of your friends having fun at the bar. Social media also makes you more likely to compare yourself to others. Some of the more convincing research into social media suggests that social media use can lead to depression if you are in the habit of comparing yourself to the people you see on social media. Comparison, in general, leads to dissatisfaction, but on social media it’s even worse because people spend so much time crafting their image, rarely sharing their setbacks, disappointments, or embarrassments.
However, there is a healthy way to use social media. Social media is a convenient way to coordinate plans with friends. If you use it primarily for this purpose, rather than scrolling aimlessly, looking at everyone’s updates, it may actually be good for your recovery. There are recovery groups on Facebook and other platforms that you can use for social support and you plan group activities more easily. The trick is to use social media intentionally and not get sucked in by tricks platforms use to keep you there.
Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
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