Social media can be a fantastic tool for networking, staying up to date, meeting others, learning new things and quite frankly just passing the time, but as it grows, so do the problems that come with it.
Suffering myself with problems like anxiety and crippling insecurities, I have first-hand experience of what social media can do to your mental health. Being at home, with your own comforts, is meant to be the one safe place where you can relax and finally switch off to the outside world, but the cultural phenomenon of social media almost makes that impossible.
Now it’s easy to say, “Well just don’t look”, but social media is an addiction in itself. With everyone else constantly tapping and scrolling away, it can make you feel totally isolated if you don’t stay in the loop. The compulsion just to open the app and look down the newsfeed is too much sometimes, and that’s where the problems can start.
A study in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions showed a link between excessive social media use and alcohol abuse, as it suggested that people who use social media to the extreme are more likely to conform to what they believe are ‘social norms’, in order to fit in. It also suggested that they are more easily influenced by what they see online, leading to them copying behaviours and falling into dangerous patterns.
This links to the rise of ‘rosé culture’ and the constant memes, posts, captions etc about how much ‘mummy needs a glass of wine’ or mugs with slogans like ‘this is not tea, it’s prosecco’.
Nowadays, this is all considered hilarious and so relatable, except these behaviours are actually really dangerous and not healthy at all.
It totally belittles people who really struggle with addiction and the damage that alcohol can do to their lives. Again, there’s nothing wrong with people who enjoy unwinding with a drink when it’s within healthy limits, but it’s a fine line and glamourising alcohol is never a good idea. At the end of the day, alcohol is a drug and promoting it so much is irresponsible.
Hiding alcohol in a coffee mug is a common warning sign of addiction, yet now we’re making jokes about it and people are making money from it? It just doesn’t make much sense.
I’m not totally devoid of a sense of humour (at least I hope I’m not) but jokes about issues that can literally destroy someone’s life really don’t make me laugh. When you struggle with your own mind anyway, it can be really difficult to avoid drinking (or whatever your addiction may be) when you’re constantly bombarded with it online and seeing pictures of smiling people boasting about their drink-fuelled happiness. It’s a vicious circle and one that really needs to be addressed. I don’t want to stop people having fun, but we really need to learn how to be more mindful of people who suffer from addiction and mental health problems and make the online world (as well as the real one) a safer place for people who are struggling.
Our friends at Tell Better Stories explore this subject really well, if anyone fancies reading further.
Here at Recovery.Wrx, this is something we also feel is really important and we want to explore it further too… stay tuned!