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Navigating Mental Health Content in the World of Social Media

Navigating Mental Health Content in the World of Social Media

As humans, our need for connection is necessary to thrive in life and feel a sense of self-worth. While social media offers this sense of connection, there are some negative aspects to the content you consume. If not handled appropriately, mental health content can be among the most misleading and damaging content. Since mental health is becoming more discussed on social media, it is important to control what content you read.

Positive Effects of Social Media

When used the right way, social media offers many benefits. Some positives of social media include:

  • Staying Connected: Social media allows you to keep in contact and communicate with friends, family, and people from around the world. Connection is an integral part of everyday living. Apps like Instagram allow you to share pictures of your favorite moments in life and share them with your loved ones.
  • Providing a Creative Outlet: Many people use social apps as a creative outlet. Artists such as painters, writers, and musicians can post their work, generate a following, and develop a career.
  • Networking: In today’s society, networking is a big part of growing a community and meeting new people. Social media allows you to connect and meet potential business partners from across the world. If you struggle with social anxiety, this is a great way to meet people without the anxiousness that could come from meeting in person.

Negative Effects of Social Media

Social media also has many negative aspects. The negatives of social media include:

  • Cyberbullying: People tend to feel bolder online because they do not need to worry about physical interaction. However, this can lead to cyberbullying, which consists of people leaving rude, unwanted, and opinionated comments on your posts. Cyberbullying can affect your mental health and perpetuate disorders such as depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia.
  • Social Media Addiction: Studies have found that some individuals can develop an addiction to social media. While not considered an actual disorder or diagnosis, it is a form of behavioral addiction. Social media addiction is the uncontrollable urge to commit more time to social media than interacting in person.
  • Feelings of Inadequacy or Self-absorption: Social media has become about sharing selfies, posting body transformations, and personal achievements. While there is nothing wrong with posting this kind of content, overindulgence is a form of self-absorption. It could make you feel inadequate because you believe you don’t measure up to these standards or get as many likes on your selfies as others. It can also worsen symptoms of disorders such as depression or body dysmorphia.

Filter Who You Follow

One of the best ways to control your online experience is to regulate who you follow. Make sure you are following accounts posting accurate and positive mental health content. There are blogs and accounts dedicated to spreading mental health awareness that post information about disorders and ways to cope. You can also follow organizations or people who are advocates and share personal stories.

Follow Credible Sources

Social media is also a host for misinformation and stereotypes about mental health. Here are a few credible sources to follow on social media instead:

Report Harmful Posts

Misinformation about mental health creates stigmas and influences people toward taking the wrong steps to get help. However, most apps give you the option to report such harmful or disturbing posts. If you come across content that speaks about mental health in a degrading or damaging way, take the time to report the post. Reporting posts not only helps you manage your social media algorithm but helps prevent the spread of harmful posts for others to consume.

Reporting harmful posts will also allow the app to establish boundaries and standards for its users. While you cannot eradicate all negative posts, taking time to report such posts will help cultivate a positive community.

Take Some Time Off

Social media can become addicting, and you may find yourself spending hours upon hours using social media. It is not healthy to consume a large amount of information from other people’s lives daily.

Taking time to step away from social media is great for your mental health. However, you might struggle to unplug from social media. If you have difficulty getting away from social media, try to set specific hours that you cannot engage in social media throughout the day. Having a set schedule will help you stay focused and accountable. You might use this time to read, draw, journal or have physical interactions with friends and family.

Social media is one of today’s most influential platforms for teens, which may lead your child to try unhealthy coping strategies such as substance use. Clearfork Academy can help. Our treatment programs include highly trained and certified staff members that offer a compassionate approach. Located on an inviting and charming ranch, we provide a home away from home for teens in need of substance use and mental illness treatment. Whether your teen is going through our inpatient or outpatient programs, our sole focus will be on recovery and creating a healthy and drug-free lifestyle for your teen. While we do not exclude smartphones, we do provide a space free of social media to allow teens to get in touch with their innermost passions, whether it be art, music, acting, or writing. If your teen needs a safe and professional treatment program, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling us at (888) 966-8604

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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.