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Understanding Social Media’s Impact on Sobriety

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While there are certainly some benefits of social media, like staying connected to distant family and meeting new people, the reality is that more and more information is coming out about its dangers. It is now understood that it can be destructive to self-esteem and detrimental to one’s priorities and goals. These negative effects (and many more) can be especially true regarding social media’s impact on sobriety. 

The Negative Effects Social Media Can Have

Social media has negative effects across all populations. However, as of late, social media has been shown to have particular negative effects on young people and teens.

According to a 2023 release by the office of the United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, “Recent research shows that adolescents who spend more than three hours per day on social media face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes, such as symptoms of depression and anxiety; yet one 2021 survey of teenagers found that, on average, they spend 3.5 hours a day on social media. Social media may also perpetuate body dissatisfaction, disordered eating behaviors, social comparison, and low self-esteem, especially among adolescent girls.” While these issues appear to be elevated among youth, they also appear to bleed into adulthood and older populations.

These types of negative effects are also felt particularly hard in the recovery community. This is because much of the content on social media tends to have a “pro-party” (meaning pro-alcohol and pro-substance use) slant.

Understanding Social Media’s Impact on Sobriety

Social media has become such a hotbed for negative substance-related discussion that people are even using the platforms in real-time to track substance use and addiction. According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research, “User-generated content and user interactions related to drug use (eg, opioid misuse) are prevalent and are rapidly emerging forms of communication across social media platforms. Social media big data on this topic offer an avenue for observing and understanding the temporal trends of problematic drug use and relevant risk factors in real-time, as well as the ability to measure the collective human behavior of an extremely large population of interest.”

While this is an interesting avenue of study and may offer some observational addiction insight, it is also emblematic of the issues that social media use is posing to people’s sobriety. This makes recognizing social media’s impact on sobriety in a more localized manner all the more important. 

Awareness: Recognizing Social Media’s Impact on Sobriety

Social media can send the wrong message to people currently struggling with active addiction. It becomes all the more difficult to choose recovery when many of the people currently “idolized” (such as celebrated actors, musicians, and “influencers”) are promoting alcohol and substance use and abuse. There is also a lot of misinformation on social media that does not mention the negative effects of alcohol and substance use.

Social media’s negative impact on sobriety for people already in recovery can be significant. Many people in recovery can be triggered by various images and discussions of alcohol and substance use. These types of images and discussions permeate social media platforms. To counter the reality, for people in recovery, action must be taken.

Action: Recovering From Social Media’s Impact on Sobriety

For people seeking recovery, and for those already in recovery, the best plan of action against the negative effects of social media is to stop engaging with it altogether. However, it is also understood that in today’s techno-day-and-age, this is less than likely. So, the next best thing is to create a positive recovery foundation online.

Just as there are many negative social media sites online, there are many positive sober sites online. These sites include platforms that offer sober people the opportunity to meet other sober people (in virtual 12-Step meetings, for example). Some sites also offer information about whether one might have an issue with alcohol or substances. This includes places where one can take a quiz as to whether they may have addiction issues.

Ultimately, one does not have to go offline to stay sober. They just have to be smart about where they go and who they interact with. 

Healing at the Cellular Level With Lantana Recovery

Social media is having serious negative effects on all areas of society. Now, this includes those areas where people are trying to get and stay sober. Here at Lantana Recovery, we understand the dangerous impact on sobriety that social media can have.

This is why we help all of our clients navigate the potential negative effects that going on social media sites can bring. Recovery is about healing at the cellular level, and the reality is that it’s hard to do that with something as synthetic as a computer screen staring us right in the face.

Social media platforms can be particularly harmful to sobriety. The reality is that many social media trends related to alcohol and substances can be “triggering” for many people. Also, many interactions on social media can be toxic and eventually lead to a relapse. If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or comorbidities of both, we can help get you onto the positive path toward long-term recovery. For more information about the benefits of avoiding social media while in treatment, as well as limiting social media use while in long-term recovery, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.