Turn the clock back 60 years and people living in that time would find it hard to believe that we can stay in constant contact with our friends, family and even strangers. Social media may give us the ability to stay in contact with our loved ones, but it has adverse effects for people in addiction recovery.
If you’re on social media yourself, you know it can cause a fear of missing out (FOMO). If your loved one who is in addiction recovery experiences this feeling when seeing photos of friends and family drinking and partying, they may be at risk of relapse.
The Link Between Social Media and Substance Abuse
These days, social media is built in to so many aspects of our lives. While this is beneficial at times, the truth is social media can play a factor in substance abuse. Everyone on social media is exposed to images of drugs and alcohol. Whether it’s a picture of a friend’s vacation or an advertisement for a local brewery, there are more reminders of drugs and alcohol than you think.
For your loved one in recovery, these reminders are temptations that can increase their risk for relapse. Going a step farther, social media usually only shows the “bright side” of drugs and alcohol. All of this extra exposure can actually make people more likely to try drugs and alcohol. And for those in recovery, these reminders of substance abuse can trigger a relapse.
3 Ways Social Media Impacts Your Loved One’s Recovery
1. It’s Easy to Get Caught Up in Comparisons
Social media sites tend to encourage people to post the “best” side of themselves. Take a moment to think about the last time you saw one of your friends or family post about a bad day or a selfie after they worked overtime. Most people focus on posting the good moments, such as vacations, hangouts with friends and major accomplishments.
When someone in recovery sees these posts, it’s common for them to compare their life to the lives of the people posting. From there, it’s easy to feel like their life is empty or is missing something. This mindset can hurt your loved one’s mental health and self-esteem. It can also make them feel like they’re the only one who isn’t “perfect”.
In fact, a study done by the Current Opinion in Psychology found that envying your friends on social media can worsen your mental health. Since mental health is a crucial factor in addiction recovery, your loved one may struggle with their sobriety if they can’t handle what they’re seeing on social media.
2. Social Media Affects Your Loved One’s Sleep
Did you know that sleep disorders are five times more likely for people in recovery? Getting enough in recovery providers more energy, improves mood and aids decision making. The problem is that social media often causes people to lose sleep. Think about the last time you stayed up later than you wanted scrolling through Instagram posts.
When your loved one is looking at social media, they’re seeing a lot of information at once. That can cause their mind to race and make it harder for them to fall asleep. Talk to your loved one about their social media usage. You can make it a shared goal for both of you to not go on social media after a set time at night.
3. They Can Use Social Media to Add to Their Support System
Social media isn’t all bad when it comes to addiction recovery. An important part of addiction recovery is having a group of people who can support you. There are plenty of groups on social media that can give your loved one a safe place to talk about what they’re going through.
Does social media make your loved one’s recovery more challenging? The answer depends on how they use it. Like addiction recovery, the secret to social media use is all about balance. But if your loved one is struggling in their recovery or has recently relapsed, the most effective way to help them is to seek addiction treatment.
Silver Maple Recovery Gives Your Loved One a Safe Place to Heal
As one of the premier addiction treatment centers in Cleveland, Silver Maple Recovery can help your loved one heal. Our programs are grounded in evidence-based approaches and we offer an expert continuum of care. Like you, we want your loved one to reach lasting recovery.
That’s why we put together an expert team of addiction professionals with an average of 25 years of local experience. At Silver Maple Recovery, your loved one can break free from addiction and you’ll have peace mind knowing they’re getting the right support.
If your loved one is struggling with their recovery or has recently relapse, don’t wait. Contact us today to speak to one of our addiction experts.