5 science-backed reasons why too much social media is bad for your mental health

Instagram and Facebook can keep you abreast, connected, and even entertained. But too much social media can also wreck your mental health.
social media
Don't let likes and comments on social media determine your self worth. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 11 Feb 2020, 16:09 pm IST
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From flaunting that perfect selfie to connecting with friends and family around the world–the benefits of social media are undeniable. Facebook allows you to stay connected, Instagram offers opportunities of fame through images while Twitter is a place to voice opinions.

Despite the popularity of these mediums, the effect of social media use on mental and physical health warrants a closer look. Studies have linked social media to depression, anxiety, poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem, inattention and hyperactivity.

Here we list down five things that happen when you spend too much time on social media:

1. Your self control can go for a toss
Do you feel like buying something the moment you see someone else with it on social media? A 2013 study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that social media interactions can trigger a lack of self-control for users.

The study also found that Facebook usage was in fact, linked to unhealthy snacking, increased binge eating and higher body mass index (BMI).

2. You can become addicted to the internet
Being constantly online could be foreshadowing a medical disorder. If you flaunt your private life on social media, you may be suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder or IAD.

Also read: Being addicted to your phone can lead to loneliness and this time even science is saying it

Experts say if you play a lot of video games or continuously shop online then you may be suffering from IAD.

3. You could become prone to eating disorders
Has the image of thin-bodied women on social media prompted you to skip on meals? A 2017 study conducted by the University of Exeter in England described how some social media users were glorifying extreme skinniness by featuring selfies of young women showing off their withered frames.

eating disorders
All that you see on Instagram can make you prone to eating disorders. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Your sleep cycle could be the casualty
Yes, hours and hours of social media surfing takes toll on one’s health. A study published in the journal Acta Paediatrica found that greater use of social media was associated with a greater likelihood of getting too little sleep amongst 11 to 20-year-olds.

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5. You could also get depressed
One of the worst side effects of social media is perhaps depression. From unrealistic body goals to unhealthy ideas of beauty, greater use of social media often leads to depression in young adults.

A study, published in 2016 in the journal Depression and Anxiety, found that young adults who frequently checked social media were 2.7 times more likely to have depression than those who spent less time online.

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