Your Instagram and TikTok Addiction is Giving You Depression
Updated: Jan 15
Disclaimer: This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalley's mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.
Today the downsides of using social media for mental health have become widely publicized. The subject is incredibly bloggable, fashionable even, but what are the facts, and is your (mild, or maybe massive) addiction to Instagram and TikTok, or whatever your poison of choice...I mean your favorite social media app really giving you depression, or at least leading you in that direction?
Mental Health and Social Media
Several researchers have called this phenomenon “Facebook Depression”...
Until now, psychiatrists have focused mainly on addiction and little else, but the internet is proving to be an inexhaustible source of mental health risks. Topics such as depression, anorexia, cyberbullying, online harassment and suicide, are some of the most worrying issues that are discussed when dealing with these topics.
We all know how great the internet is, how it has literally changed every facet of our lives. Without it, we would be decades behind in breakthroughs in every field of human discovery, plus I can post cute pictures of my cat, but the internet is a scimitar, a double-edged sword, and with all the good it has brought, there are also perils, and pitfalls, that we must learn to navigate and avoid.
The latest amongst these scary pitfalls is depression related to social media. Several researchers have called this phenomenon “Facebook Depression” - since the term was coined in 2011, had it been done so today, it would most likely have been called "Instagram Depression" due to the platforms' domination in the social media space - and have suggested that the so-called is an unquestionable clinical reality.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
If social media dominates how you spend most of your time, you'll know how powerful it can be. You'll have seen the good, the bad and sometimes even the down-right ugly side of social media, and in turn society; a raw glimpse into the nature of humanity. For people, especially young people, social acceptance, intimate emotional relationships, confidential intimacy and the sense of self-worth and security that social media give are things that we find invaluable, and in turn, their loss can also be incredibly devastating.
Even though the connections we create online are in cyberspace, the feelings attached to them are very real, and in turn, the related stressors that can accompany them are not only as raw but many, many times more powerful, amplified by the speed, immediacy, intensity of the all-for-show nature of social media, making them especially aggressive, violent, difficult to tolerate. and adapt to them.
The fallout on social media can be especially intense and incredibly damaging. Which can, in turn, create uncontrollable vicious circles that carry risks for those on the receiving end: aggravation of depressive feelings (feeling sad and empty), social isolation, self-harm and even suicide.
As a Tool For Good
Using the internet is rising being exposed. Especially if you are unstable, vulnerable, and have self-esteem issues. Even for those of us, whose struggles with mental health aren't that big, prolonged exposure to the internet can turn small issues into massive problems. So how do we continue to use the internet, benefiting from all the wonderful things it brings, enjoy using our favorite social media apps, whilst also protecting our mental health?
One of the proposed answers is that what we need is a new psychopathology, an 'online' tool to keep our mental health in check, allowing us to correctly analyze emotional expressions; our moods and feelings, detect possible pathologies early and allow us to access tools for quick diagnoses and treatments, which can sometimes be to just have a social media detox, all in the comfort of our own homes.
Both Instagram and Facebook (which owns the former) already have a built-in 'anti-addiction' tool which tracks and measures how long you've been on the app and even allows you to silence notifications for a set time, but that's as far as it goes. Really who are we kidding, these apps make money based on how long and how many people use them, they will never tell you to stop using them as that will directly affect their bottom line. So don't expect a notification from Instagram or Tiktok anytime soon saying "Hey there, you've been using me for way too long recently, time to take a break *smiling emoji*"
It's up to us to look after our mental health, and realise when we need a break, or when things have gone too far and we need some help. The internet can be a very powerful tool to keep our mental health in check, it's important we know how to use it
This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalley's mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.