The more you prioritize social media interaction over in-person relationships, the more
you're at risk for developing or exacerbating mood disorders such as anxiety and
depression. ) ( See references ) Social media lets you see the carefully selected best
parts of everyone else's lives, which you then compare to the negatives in your own life
(that only you see). Comparing yourself to other people is a sure path to anxiety and
unhappiness, and social media has made this much easier to do. Social media often
encourages people to compare themselves with others, leading to feelings of envy and
dissatisfaction. This can harm mental health and well-being and can lead to depression,
anxiety, and other psychological disorders. (See References)
Social media can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. It has a powerful draw for many
people that leads to them checking it all the time without even thinking about it.
If you're not sure whether you're addicted to social networks, try to remember the last time you
went a full day without checking any social media accounts. Do you feel rejected if someone
unfollows you? And if your favorite social networks completely disappeared tomorrow, would the
absence make you feel empty and depressed?
Social media has a reinforcing nature. Using it activates the brain's reward center by releasing
dopamine, a "feel-good chemical" linked to pleasurable activities such as sex, food, and social
interaction. The platforms are designed to be addictive and are associated with anxiety,
depression, and even physical ailments. But what makes users come back for more even when
it can make them feel sick?
"When the outcome is unpredictable, the behavior is more likely to repeat. Think of a slot
machine: if game players knew they never were going to get money by playing the game, then
they never would play," Sperling says.
"The idea of a potential future reward keeps the machines in use. The same goes for social
media sites. One does not know how many likes a picture will get, who will 'like' the picture, and