Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health

Andria Dempsey
Andria Dempsey used Ask the Experts™
Since the face of psychology is constantly changing, it is impossible to end the “History of Psychology” series with a definitive, “…and that’s how psychology came to be.” Separate Buy Instagram Followers branches of the discipline have formed, medicine has become staggeringly important in treatment and prevention of mental illnesses, theories have formed and crumbled, and scholars have dedicated their careers to advancing the field. The science has been adapted by the masses, and has even become prevalent in pop culture – music (Blink 182’s “Stockholm Syndrome” comes to mind), television, and films have all explored mental illnesses and treatments.
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Leslie BloomCorporate & Product Marketing Manager

Can you clarify your question here? Are you looking for articles and academic journals which address the issue of social media and mental health?

These are my own rambling thoughts on the issue.  You asked a rambling "question" and I have given you some random thoughts in return.

There is a distinct difference between Psychology and Psychiatry.

Psychology is the study of how people think, act, react and interact, and concerns all aspects of behaviour, thoughts, feelings, and motivation underlying such behaviour.  Psychology is a discipline that is mostly concerned with the normal functioning of the mind, or generally at the worst idiosyncracies.  A Psychologist usually cannot prescribe medicine.

Psychiatry is the study of mental disorders and their diagnosis, management and prevention.  Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have qualified in psychiatry.  A Psychiatrist can prescribe medication.

A psychotherapist may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional, who has had further specialist training in psychotherapy.  Increasingly, there are a number of psychotherapists who do not have backgrounds in the above fields, but who have undertaken in-depth training in this area.  Psychotherapists help people to overcome stress, emotional and relationship problems, or troublesome habits.  Although some of these issues may border onto "mental illness", most often a psychotherapist is dealing with behavioural issues rather than genuine mental health issues.   Consultant psychiatrists in psychotherapy are medical doctors who have qualified in psychiatry and then undertaken a three or four-year specialist training in psychotherapy. Their role involves psychotherapeutic treatment of patients with psychiatric illnesses.

You say:

Since the face of psychology is constantly changing, it is impossible to end the “History of Psychology” series with a definitive, “…and that’s how psychology came to be.”

In my opinion Psychology has existed since the dawn of mankind.  We simply gave it a label and moved it into a clinic or office, that's all.  Primitive man must have become "stressed out" at times, perhaps after several unsuccessful hunts or having a wife that snored incessantly, and others in the clan or tribe (or maybe the leader) would have provided some "counselling" to help.  I'll hazard a guess that tribal elders would have offered a rather primitive form of counselling for sexual problems, or depression following bereavement or other life-changing events.

Your question title is "Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health", but the paragraph that forms your question is hazy and directionless.  If you really want to discuss how Social Media has affected humanity it would be a good idea if you included aspects like how it can create mass hysteria, perpetuate myths, and encourage copycat "lemming" type of behaviour such as youth suicide as the means to "solve" cyber bullying.  In my opinion peoples' dependence on Social Media as the means to interact with others has been instrumental in creating stresses that were not there before, or wouldn't be present without Social Media.

I have heard people moaning about their lives being too busy to get essential tasks done, and about the resultant stress of their busy modern lives, but they are unable to see that the time wasted through their absolute dependence on Social Media is actually at the root of their so-called stressful lives.

Social Media is frequently counter-productive to our health in general, not just mental health.  The most immediate example is how we are constantly being misled by half-baked "experts" about what foods are good for us and what ones are bad.  One minute it's OK to eat a particular food in moderation, but the next minute it is revealed in the media (accompanied by unconfirmed "evidence") that it causes Alzheimer's Disease.  No wonder so many people panic and worry when they are so dependent on the various sources of electronic social media as their primary source of interaction with others.

There have obviously been lots of benefits from the various streams of Social Media.  Examples are:

1. TV documentaries (often replicated on YouTube and often supported by Facebook and Twitter sites) that help "normal" people gain a better insight into conditions like Tourette's Syndrome, stammering, obesity due to gluttony, hoarding and OCD, etc, etc.

2. The aforesaid media streams can help those who have been suffering in silence to gain an understanding of their own conditions and discuss them with similarly afflicted people.

The "Embarrassing Bodies" TV series not only allows most of us the opportunity to gasp and grimace at other peoples' personal health afflictions, but it also exposes non-sufferers to the reality of those various conditions and the acceptance of the condition by others allows silent sufferers to know that they are not alone and can be treated without being ridiculed.
Thank you Scott

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial