social media and mental health

How does social media affect our mental health?

Being aware of our daily social media use and how it impacts our mental health is important.

The evolution of technology has skyrocketed in the last few decades, and with this change comes the adoption of social media. According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of adults and 81% of teenagers in the United States use social media. With most social media platforms’ original intention to connect people, the neurological impact shouldn’t be overlooked.


With the reinforcing nature of giving and receiving likes, comments, and retweets, these actions release dopamine within the brain, which becomes addicting by nature. Therefore, as these platforms are designed to be addictive, an increase in anxiety and depression are linked to social media use.


The distorted reality of social media

Self-image is one of the main social impacts caused by media platforms. The problem: most only post the ideal, edited shot that gives the impression of perfection. In addition, images are often digitally manipulated to minimize flaws and emphasize the desired features, with many celebrities and influencers leading the pack. With such unrealistic beauty standards, the impact on mental health and self-image is damaging.

In a recent survey, 87% of women and 65% of men in the United States compare their bodies to images they consume on social media. The disconnect between reality and what is perceived online invokes feelings about users’ real lives versus how they are portrayed online. And when the “perfect” picture doesn’t happen organically, side effects such as depression and anxiety rise within social media users.


Depression and anxiety

A key difference between current teenagers and young adults compared to previous generations is that with the tool of social media, connecting in person isn’t necessary, and often not preferred to talking online. However, the downside to this form of communication is that this type of connection is less satisfying and can produce feelings of isolation. Social media increases perceived isolation, self-esteem, and an overall less healthy mindset, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.

However, with the knowledge of the potential side effects of social media on the mind and body, you can take active efforts to prevent this and still successfully use social media platforms.


Self-care and social media

Reminding yourself that there is a balance between social media and reality is important and finding a balance between your everyday life and what you see on your screen. Some tips to apply to your daily routine can include setting a timer for how long you use social media, turning off notifications to help decrease the link between receiving virtual interactions and feelings of fulfillment and taking social media breaks now and then.


Keeping this information in mind, at Foothills Neurology there are highly experienced neurologists and providers who stay current with the developments and changes within the field of neurology. Finding the source of concern, whether it be anxiety, depression, or other neurological disorders, and treating accordingly with the best care possible is what makes Foothills Neurology one of the most reputable and trusted neurologists in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Contact us today to discover our neurology services and specialties.

Foothills Neurology