social media trap that can lead to depression

The social network application opens and here they are, beautiful, successful, happy: other. If self-esteem is strong, the finger will slide with healthy interest. When devaluing the ego, the effect can negatively affect mental healthpsychologists note, hinting at the silent slap in the face of the constant comparison that social networks call for.

In the early 2000s, the expression FoMO was coined, an acronym for Fear of missing out (fear of being left out) to refer to a social phenomenon that has begun to emerge – connected with the Internet – and which, as it has been seen, in many took the form of addiction.

That same “need” to constantly know the news about everything (and about everyone), as if starting from the lack or lack of which, without exception, must be accompanied by a search. And in this request process you need to capture (scroll one post after another) what others do, have or (and what we, apparently, do not do, do not have and do not have).

The game goes on unceasingly, even when satiety is not achieved, thanks to the copious release of a substance called dopamine, as the toxicologist explained to this medium. Martha Braschihow much more personalized is the content offered by the social network.

The reason for this behavior is simple: “Both addiction to psychoactive substances and behavioral dependencies They cause the release of dopamine, a pleasure-producing substance. And it is this effect that pushes us to further consumption.”

Thus, we look – sometimes for hours – at others with their beauty, wit and happiness. Your new car, your utopian vacation or just homemade dumplings. His ideal children, his garden, his roast under the sun, his love without cracks, his faithful pet, well-applied paste on the wall or marathon sweat.

side here, losers alwayswith your suffering. Where do these irrepressible feelings lead?

Social media and mental health

“He the impact of social media on mental health and, in particular, it can be negative in self-esteem in people predisposed to developing depression or eating disorders. For example, anorexia and bulimia, as unrealistic stereotypes of body image are presented, often distorted by the filters that people take as models for self-esteem and thus exacerbate the predisposition to these problems, ”he introduced. Christian GarayDeputy Minister for Research and Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, UBA Department of Psychology.

Garay defined “depressed people” in a way that many might wonder: they are those “with a tendency to negative thinking, a tendency to perfectionism and high standards of self-esteem.”

It doesn’t help that “most social media posts show wellness situationspleasure trips,” he said. Be biasedthey emit a message that generates feelings like “i must have it‘, according to “with happiness imperative that circulates in society: the idea that we should be constantly happy.

For Garay, this is contradictory: “The happiness imperative seems to indicate that we should never be sad; nor feel fear, shame or anger, as if negative emotions should not be just because they don’t have a social media presence.”

Personality and feelings in networks

Understood in this way, social networks can become “ invalid environment for personal emotionslike you don’t even need to feel them. The rebound effect is bad in this sense: “When we nullify or nullify ourselves, our negative experiences end up increasing in both frequency and intensity.”

In another sector of the library (in this case social identity theory) Louis James, psychologist, professor of the Department of Theory and Methods of Groups, Faculty of Psychology, UBA. He proposed to analyze the relationship of self-esteem with social networks in terms of social uncertainty. Basically the issue is that due to our own cognitive limitations, we cannot know “everything”.

One of the human strategies to alleviate this feeling is categorization, something we do – dynamically – “all the time”. It is a logical way of ordering an elusive reality: “We are doomed to classify others not morally but descriptively. From now on, it makes us have very basic ideas about what others are like.

difference game

A couple of simple yet powerful concepts that Jaume explained: ingroup and outgroup, the two main forms of categorization. The first involves the idea of ​​”belonging to a group”. The second, without further ado, is the bag that all other people get into in our head.

All this works with some important “cognitive biases”. First, suppose outgroup homogeneity. That is, consider that the other They are all the samewhereas in the inner group there would be individual differences.”

The second “distortion” is the application of certain “intragroup favoritism”; i.e. to consider that the owned group is better, the key point for the axis of this note, since one of the foundations of this theory is that ingroup is associated with self-esteem: “We strive to have a high base level of self-esteem in order to feel good.”

In parallel, of course, there is a denigration of a foreign group, the presumption that “the other is worse, a feeling that is subjective and has its own gray shades. This can go from the most basic levels (‘The other one is not as good as me‘) to catastrophic, with prejudice, discrimination and, at worst, extermination.”

Extended online comparison

Let’s get back to social media. “A hundred years ago, people compared themselves to those close to them in their neighborhood or city, but social networks they made the phenomenon of comparison gigantic and exponential”, analyzed Jaume.

From now on they personal qualities and history those who finally weigh the influence of networks in one, but Jaume spoke of another difference that must be considered.

Comparison can be ascending or descending“, – he distinguished and clarified: “The first occurs when a person compares himself with someone whom he a priori considers the best, which tends to undermine self-esteem. On the other hand, it is downward when we compare ourselves with someone “worse” in order to maintain self-esteem and thus legitimize ourselves.”

From now on, everything has nuances. The really key point is that bottom-up comparison can either generate a negative effect or, conversely, mobilize change and inspire.

The fact is that, as happens in any social network, “not everyone who goes to war has, for example, post-traumatic stress,” Jaume said and concluded: “The stressful event can be the same, but it shouldn’t take you to undermine self-esteem up to clinical depression“.

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