Posted on

Social Media’s Impact on Recovery

man is checking his cell phone at a conference

The term “social media” refers to types of digital platforms that encourage people to converse through digital forms of communication. Such digital platforms include media like email, text, message boards, games and entertainment apps, and social networking sites. Such platforms allow both adults and teenagers to communicate and share information with a broader audience. While social media can be a positive experience, it can also perpetuate stress, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, navigating social media can be especially difficult for a teenager. Social media can even influence one’s recovery. 

Let’s look at social media’s impact on teenagers and how it influences recovery. 

Facts About Teens Using Social Media

Research shows that young adults use social media to explore their identity and learn about health and risk behaviors. They are forming opinions on what they should do and how they should behave. About 90% of young adults with Internet access use social media. Even more, 97% of teens between 13 and 17 years old use at least one of the main social media platforms. 

The most prevalent social media platforms that teens commonly use are:

  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit

The average teen spends about 7-9 hours a day on social media, with the largest amount of time dedicated to YouTube. 

Benefits of Social Media for Recovery

Social media holds certain advantages in recovery work. Social media gives teens a sense of community. It can provide teens with a feeling of comfort and happiness by helping them make connections with others, especially with fellow peers managing a SUD. 

Further benefits of social media include: 

  • Helping teens stay connected to family and friends
  • Finding support via online recovery groups or forums
  • The anonymity of online connections makes it easier to share and confide in people
  • Liberating for those who struggle with self-disclosure
  • Friends and family can offer support by simply liking, sharing, or commenting on posts
  • People sometimes feel more open to sharing their challenges with writing than during in-person interactions
  • A good way to perform outreach or serve the sober community

Social Media Can Delay Progress in Recovery

While social media can help teenagers maintain a connection with the outside world, it can also hinder their progress in recovery. Social media causes people to compare themselves, which can sometimes lead to feelings of inadequacy. People are constantly comparing themselves to others on social media. The more time a person spends scrolling through social media, the more likely they will compare themselves to others.

Social media is not a replacement for real-life interactions. An over-dependence on online interactions can lead to a person withdrawing from face-to-face interactions. This can cause depression and chronic stress, which can lead to a relapse. Also, teens have the added challenge of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a genuine concern, and internet “trolls” love to use social media platforms to argue with people. Therefore, teens need to understand that they have every right not to engage in online discussions if the atmosphere doesn’t feel supportive. 

Social Media Glamorizes Substance Use

As social media usage increases, so have reports of the glamorization of alcohol and substance use. Social media strengthens peer pressure’s grasp on adolescents, especially regarding their consumption of substances. Information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shows that many celebrities regularly post pictures of themselves drinking alcohol or using drugs. Regardless of these celebrities’ intent, their posts associate substance use with fun. Unfortunately, young people may wish to try substances after seeing them glamorized online. 

Treatment Works Better

Social media is not the best source for recovery. There are too many risks to using social media as the primary source of treatment. Successful recovery requires professional care at a treatment center and participating in support groups and other forms of therapy. If teenagers are engaged in social media so much that it affects their mental health, academic performance, and overall confidence, it is time to seek help.

Finding the Best Care

Finding the right care for a teenager requires proper diagnosis and treatment that focuses on a teenager’s needs. Clearfork Academy is a treatment center that checks all these boxes. Our model of care functions to provide support and guidance for teenagers struggling with SUD. Such settings help provide an appropriate and comfortable space for teens to learn and grow.  

Our therapies include: 

As social media becomes more and more prevalent in society, the psychological effects have become increasingly clear. We can help teenagers learn to use it responsibly as they recover from SUD. 

Social media can build positive online communities and help people connect. It can even provide a voice for the voiceless. However, there are also risks to be aware of with social media. The overuse of social media can lead users to struggle even more with mental health issues, drug cravings, or substance use. At Clearfork Academy, we strive to help young teenage males develop the skills necessary to cope with the negative aspects of social media. Our licensed clinicians will help you find the best treatment to address your teenage son’s needs. We offer a continuum of care to meet individual needs, whether your son is just starting recovery or looking to get back on track. Our programs ensure that those who seek help with us feel safe, secure, and comfortable throughout treatment. We aim to educate, motivate and inspire teens to flourish into the people they want to become. To learn more, call us today at (888) 966-8604.