How social media use can affect your mood

Posted at 5:25 AM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 15:32:07-04

Social media is seemingly everywhere we look and access to it is easier than ever before.

But how much social media use is too much and is it making you sad? 

The Cleveland Clinic recently looked at a new study on social media use. It reveals a few surprises and really  shows how it affects different types of people.

The study looked at 1,700 people between the ages of 19 and 32.

Researchers found that people who spent the most time on social media had the highest likelihood of feeling socially isolated.

"People who are already kind of socially isolated got even more isolated because they used it as a substitute for social contact. So if they were uncomfortable being in social situations, they didn't have to be, and so they were even more isolated," said Joseph Rock, a physician at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Rock said the surprising findings were that even people who were not socially isolated to begin with, had the tendency to back off of social contact when they engaged in more social media use.

It's easy to lose sight of the fact that what we see on social media doesn't tell the whole story.

Dr. Rock said it can be an even bigger issue for folks who struggle with social anxiety, because it can keep them from learning to be around people.

"There's a reason this stuff is called virtual reality - it means it's not quite reality. And I think just getting out there and getting a sense of what's really going on, and when you talk to an actual human being for a period of time, you're going to get a more balanced picture of what's really going on with them," he said. 

If you look at social media every once in a while, it's no big deal.

But if you find yourself getting enraged by it, then it's time to take a step back.

Complete results of the study can be found in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.