Psychological Disorders and the Impact on the Quality of Life of Social Media

Social media is intended to help us extend our circle of friends, share our experiences, and stay connected. We can enjoy seeing images of inspiration, and success, keep up with the life events of our family and friends and make new friends. However, if not used discretely, the use of social media could lead to low self-esteem or worse.

Social media can be addictive and individuals can become extremely dependent on their media interactions to keep them feeling “happy”. Psychological dependency has become a real concern.

A survey was done where subjects were assigned to a smartphone loss group, or social media accounts loss group. “Subjects in the smartphone loss group and social media loss subjects evidenced stronger relations between suppressive emotion regulation with depression, anxiety and stress from imagined loss” (Elhai, et al). Some research suggests that the addiction to social media could very well be as serious and hard to manage as alcoholism or drug addiction. Many people have an extremely difficult time staying off of media apps and incomplete daily tasks.

It is not uncommon to see some individuals doing many duties with their phones in phones and “Not only does social media attract more anxious users, but the University of Chicago found that it’s also more addictive than cigarettes, and harder to abstain from than a cocktail might be”(Fader). In many cases, the mere thought of being without one’s connection to social media, or smartphone, can cause sheer panic and overwhelming anxiety. Research suggests that the absence of the social connection via media can cause a reaction in the brain that mimics a type of separation anxiety response.

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It seems that people no longer know how to live a life apart from giving and getting updates constantly, or simply having time where their mind is completely at rest. “ Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety. Testing has found that using too much internet can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHand D), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness (Fader, Sarah ADAA)”. Narcissism has also been shown to be on the rise with increased use of social media. An individual can become obsessed with being validated by feedback or “likes” from peers. Selfie photos are the norm for most these days, and for some, taking and perfecting photos of themselves can become a very real obsession. This is the reasoning behind all the filtering applications available. For some, these are far more than just wanting a nicer photo of themselves once in a while, but they have become obsessed with a level of perfectionism that would never be naturally attainable. Those who use filtering apps extensively have become completely unhappy with how they appear in a simple photo of themselves as they appear, and they believe they will only get the “likes” they crave if their photo is flawless enough, or their posts are worded most cleverly. “Study 1 revealed that the number of likes individuals received on their Facebook profile pictures was positively associated with narcissism(Burrow et al )”. Many people feel they must present only the best and most flawless version of themselves, which goes against the healthy psychological well-being of self-acceptance. It seems as if many have a fear that, if they don’t promote themselves in this way, they will somehow fail or fall behind. “I feel like we are living in a time that’s all about self-obsession. We have an opportunity out there to promote your own “brand.” (Bill). This obsessive behavior seems to stem from an individual’s need for constant control over their appearance at all times.

An individual’s social life and interactions can also be negatively affected, due to the increase of interaction online, and less face to face. It seems that less opportunity is taken to practice social skills. This can affect self-esteem as well, by making an individual less confident in a social setting, which can lead to social anxiety. “Social Media Anxiety Disorder fear that interacting with people will give rise to the feeling like evaluation, judgments, inferiority, and self-consciousness. It often leads to feelings like depression, inadequacy, and embarrassment” (pain assist).”Inordinate Facebook utilization and Facebook-specific conducts generate adverse societal and interpersonal repercussions” (Popescu, 2017).

Excessive viewing of the lives and experiences of others can promote low self-esteem by causing an individual to feel left out. Many Individuals experience “FOMO”, which is a “fear of missing out”. FOMO is a relevant determinant of particular online self-promoting conducts (Mihăilă, Popescu, and Nica, 2016). “Teenagers who present FOMO (that is, who are affected that they are not present in their fellows’ gratifying experiences) may use SNS to restore this shortage by unreasonably attempting to be connected with other individuals online. (Oberst et al., 2017)”. This fear that individuals have, that their peers will experience events without them, has been shown to cause a high dependency on social networks to keep them informed, invited, or “in the loop”. “Facebook assists users in escaping through communication with other individuals (Rothchild, Nicholas pp. 73-78)” The issue is, that the escape they are seeking can be keeping them in bondage by allowing their feelings to influence their moods, emotions, and decisions. Individuals are afraid to go too long without updates on others, and without sharing an update, for fear of actually losing their social lives, and their sense of belonging.

Social Media Addiction can cause a person to spend so much time and effort on social sites, that they fail to reach goals and be successful in many areas of life, which also can lead to low self-esteem. “ Overall, about 30% of those who use social media spend more than 15 hours per week online. This can greatly reduce your ability to enjoy real life. It can also cost you relationships, jobs, and education if you spend too much time online. If you are spending several hours a day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you are not going to have enough time to work, study, or spend time with loved ones.” (Fader, ADAA). Research suggests that people are wanting a constant escape from real life and real situations, which causes them to have a self-sabotaging effect on their own lives, due to procrastination, and the feeling of failure from this can lead to lowered self-esteem.

Most of us have a natural tendency to compare ourselves to others, but with the flooding of images from social media, an individual can truly become their own worst critic. Images of physical perfection, high social status, and popularity can lead to obsession and harsh self-criticism about physical condition or attributes, as well as cause a person to dwell and fantasize about being more accepted, successful, or having a more lavish lifestyle and material belongings. “Research has found that body dissatisfaction is associated with negative emotions, such as sadness, guilt, and shame; it may impact the quality of life daily (Cash 2002; Rosen 1992)”.

Works Cited

  1. Berry, N., et al. “Social Media and Its Relationship with Mood, Self‐esteem and Paranoia in Psychosis.” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, vol. 138, no. 6, Dec. 2018, pp. 558–570. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/acps.12953
  2. BILL, DEBORAH. “Don’t Just Be a Brand. Be a Person.” Vital Speeches of the Day, vol. 81, no. 8, Aug. 2015, pp. 243–245. EBSCOhost,
  3. Burrow, Anthony L., and Nicolette Rainone. “How Many Likes Did I Get?: Purpose Moderates Links between Positive Social Media Feedback and Self-Esteem.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 69, Mar. 2017, pp. 232–236. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.09.005.
  4. Fader, Sarah, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Social Media Obsession and Anxiety”,, date accessed Nov. 6, 2018.
  5. Kerkar, Pramod, MD, FFARCSI, Pain Assist Inc. April 4, 201,,
  6. ROTHCHILD, NICHOLAS. “Is Troublesome Facebook Use a Behavioral Addiction?” American Journal of Medical Research, vol. 5, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 73–78. EBSCOhost, doi:10.22381/AJMR5120186.
  7. Savci, Mustafa, and Ferda Aysan. “Technological Addictions and Social Connectedness: Predictor Effect of Internet Addiction, Social Media Addiction, Digital Game Addiction and Smartphone Addiction on Social Connectedness.” Dusun Adam: Journal of Psychiatry & Neurological Sciences, vol. 30, no. 3, Sept. 2017, pp. 202–216

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Psychological Disorders and the Impact on the Quality of Life of Social Media. (2022, Jun 21). Retrieved from

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