Social media is a big part of most people's lives. It is something you probably look at daily. Of course, it has its benefits, such as connecting people across the world and making work easier, but it also has its downsides.
Social media is often criticized for false advertising, unrealistic expectations, and being a negative influence. Are these assumptions about social media true? Does it really cause that much dysfunction?
Beyond that, can the use of social media increase the likelihood of addiction or relapse? Does social media even play a role in addiction recovery?
The Impact of Social Media
Overall, using social media is very influential on our behavior. What we see online influences us on what to buy, where to visit, and what to do.
Social media keeps us aware of what is happening next door, down the street, and halfway across the world. It keeps you updated on the news and your friends. The thing is, social media is not user-friendly, meaning it isn't curated for what you need.
You see things you may not need or want to see. Social media posts don't come with warnings about the dangers of certain behaviors. You can see drug use and even abuse being glamorized.
Social Media and Recovery
Social media can offer a sense of community, but sometimes that community can do more harm than good. Social media can be an intriguing outlet when you are in recovery, especially new to recovery.
You may be trying to find new ways to entertain yourself and have fun without drugs or alcohol. When you're bored, social media becomes second nature, and to avoid overthinking or relapsing, you may be likely to pick up your phone and start scrolling.
As normal as that may seem, social media has been known to cause depression, anxiety, loneliness, and fear of missing out. Studies show that when people limit their social media use, they tend to feel less depressed and lonely.
The early stages of recovery are already quite lonely, so a lot of social media usage could impact those emotions, further driving an addiction.
Not only can your emotions from using social media impact your recovery, but what you see can be triggering. Many people post photos and videos of themselves at bars, clubs, or parties. Seeing that when you are actively trying to distance yourself from that lifestyle during your time at an addiction center can make recovery even harder.
Finally, using social media can also be addictive. While treating one addiction, social media may take over as a new one. While in recovery, you are vulnerable to new addiction or replacement addictions, and media can do just that.
Social media may seem like a safer alternative to drugs or alcohol, but addictive behavior drives addictive behavior. The high you once felt when using drugs or alcohol could be replaced by getting likes on social media.
That addiction may not show immediate signs of danger to you physically, but the mental health aspects will undoubtedly lead to further issues in your recovery.
How to Use Social Media in Recovery
Although social media use can be harmful to your recovery, it can also offer benefits when used properly. In 2016, the Journal of Medical Internet Research published an article titled “Scaling Up Research on Drug Abuse and Addiction Through Social Media Big Data” that suggested that social media big data can be a tremendous resource to understand, monitor, and intervene in drug abuse and addiction problems.
However, it is a slippery slope. For social media use to help people in recovery, it needs to be used properly.
First off, you can unfollow anyone on social media that triggers you or even makes you unhappy. If someone posts something and you feel the need to compare yourself to them or just don't feel good about what you're seeing, unfollow them.
Social media can offer a lot of inspiration for those in recovery. If you follow others who are documenting their recovery, you can join a community of like-minded people on a similar path.
Social media can connect you with resources on mental health, recovery, and even job searches. Follow people who motivate you or make you feel good when you see their posts. It can be refreshing to scroll through social media and only see things that bring you joy or comfort.
Some people struggling with addiction have also benefited from documenting their recovery. Whether you keep it private or not, sharing your journey and just taking the time to write or post about it can aid in your recovery.
Knowing that your experience is helping others feel less alone can motivate you to continue moving forward. There is a lot of positive content for those in recovery on social media. You just have to look for it and be mindful of who you're following and for what reasons.
Social Media Consumption Benefits From Mindfulness
Social media gets a bad reputation for influencing users to behave poorly or even dangerously. Much like other forms of media, social media can glamorize unhealthy things like addiction or drug use. When you are recovering, a lot of what you see on social media could be triggering and even throw you into relapse.
However, social media doesn't have to be something else you quit. If you are willing to be mindful and purposeful with your social media habits, it can actually benefit your recovery. By unfollowing those people or accounts that don't add positivity to your life and following people in your community who share motivations and realistic posts instead, you can gain support from a whole community you couldn't find offline. Social media doesn't have to be the enemy of your recovery.
Drug detox, on the other hand, is necessary to your recovery. DetoxNearMe.com is the web’s largest collection of professional, medically supervised drug detox providers. With thousands of listings at your fingertips, you’ll find a drug detox for you more easily than ever. Start searching DetoxNearMe.com today!
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