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Social Media Creates More Isolation Than Belongingness

Today, people spend tremendous amounts of hours online, within the platform of their favorite social media sites. Scientists have become worried about people staying on their social media websites late into the night, laying in bed and scrolling through social media news feeds. Advocates for productivity and efficiency throughout the day enthusiastically preach against the practice of waking up and first turning to social media before anything else. Brain imaging studies have revealed that interactions with various components of social media can have the same stimulating effect on the brain as cocaine.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study in March of 2017 that revealed the golden promise of social media, bringing people together, is having an opposite effect. Most commonly used are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Just under 1800 adults between the ages of 19 and 32 were studied for how much time they spent on social media sites and how prevalent their feelings of social isolation were. Those who spent more than two hours a day within the confines of their favorite social media platform were twice as likely to experience social isolation than those who spent half an hour or less. Remarkably, there were some participants who spent even more time on social media. If a participant engaged with their favorite social media platform 58 times a week or more, they were found to be three times as likely to experience social isolation.

Isolating is a warning sign for relapse in recovery. Recovery is, in part, about making connections and sustaining those connections. Connections are needed to counteract the painful effects of isolation which can contribute to a desire for using drugs and alcohol. When a woman feels like she does not belong, the pain of being on the outside can be great. If she cannot engage in others, her deeply rooted ideas of worthlessness run wild. Without fulfilling relationships, a woman loses touch with her natural ability to be loving and nurturing. Isolation of any kind goes against the social, sisterly bond women have with one another.

Social media is often advised against during the early months of recovery. Engaging in too much social media can serve as a distraction from the therapeutic effort of treatment and the need to connect with peers. Seeing old pictures and watching the lives of friends who are still drinking and using can be triggering to the early recovery mind. Once sobriety has become solid, women can engage with social media and all areas of life without a threat to her sobriety.