Social Media and Recovery – Is It Time To Take a Break?

Social media serves many purposes, especially to those in addiction recovery. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have helped many recovering addicts strengthen their support system, analyze resources, and even find laughter during one of the toughest times of their lives. But social media can also come with plenty of pitfalls—especially for those in recovery. Below are a few reasons why you may want to take a break from social media while working to stay sober.

Gaining more social media friends doesn’t mean you’re being social – yes, you may have some supportive friends on your social media platforms, but it’s vital to join society during this time of recovery and find new friends and activities that keep you focused on your sobriety.

Produces stress – one of the more obvious effects of being on social media is that it can produce more feelings of stress than well-being. A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders (2017) found that greater symptoms of anxiety were associated with individuals who spent more time using social media. 

The ‘not good enough’ trend – spending several hours on social media can cause individuals to start comparing themselves to the rest of society, generating feelings of not being “good enough,”  “smart enough,” “prettier than,” and so on. Recovery is a time to raise your self- esteem and feelings of self-worth, not diminish them.

Promotes isolation – social media can produce feelings of isolation and seclusion. During recovery, the need for support and feeling part of a group is particularly important to prevent relapse. 

It can be a form of addiction – while you work on one addiction, it’s important not to substitute one addiction for another. Although there is no definitive study on whether or not social media addiction is real, a promising study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH, 2011) looked back over earlier research on social media use and found that social media disorder may exist because addiction criteria—such as mental preoccupation, neglect of personal life, and hiding the addictive behavior—appear to be present in some people who use [social networks] excessively. 

Treatment for Addiction 

Social media has its advantages, and the positive effects can help those in recovery. However, it’s also important to consider how it can potentially hinder your progress and even derail it. Remember to occasionally take a break from posting and tweeting so you can work on finding your happiness and gratitude in sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, call Daylight Recovery Services at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT to get help now. While there is no cure for addiction, it is treatable, and recovery is possible.

“One of the hardest things was learning that I was worth recovery.”

– Demi Lovato