July 29, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

Africa's Media Giant

Excessive exposure to social media risk factor for depression, suicide — Neuropsychiatrist

By Lilian Okoro

A Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Dr Maymunah Kadiri, says excessive exposure to social media is a risk factor for depression and mental health problems, which can lead to suicide.

Kadiri, also a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday that
the high rate of depression and suicide in particularly among youths was due to emotional attachment and falsehood on social media.

She lamented that many people had become so much addicted to social media that they cannot stay a minute without operating their phones either to chat on whatsApp, Facebook, twitter, watch movies or listen to news, among others.

She explained that excessive exposure to social media could affect an individual psychologically and could result to depression and emotional trauma.

The consultant neuropsychiatrist, therefore, called for a limit to social media.

She added that “news on social media can affect one’s health, not only in good way but also in bad ways.

“Unfortunately, many people have become addicted to phones and social media that they cannot spend a minute without picking up their phones to make calls or navigate through the social media handles.

“People spend too much time on social media,  which to a great extent affects their mental health.”

Kadiri, who, however, said that “social media is a good technological innovation, but has been used
by many people to exaggerate their strengths and achievements rather than a combination of strength
and weaknesses.

“It’s been observed that people on social media post areas that show their sophistication compared to their
weakness; they post areas that promote their significance as opposed to their faults/defects.

“The way the brain chemistry works is that for every time you go on social media, you see other people
progress as negative for yourself.

“Those yet to attain those achievements begin to see themselves as less and not hard working enough and the feeling
can lead to depression and if not properly managed, can lead to suicidal thoughts.”

The consultant added that for every time a person chose to like or dislike a post on social media, the functions of the human brain got altered.

She explained that the chemistry behind such alteration was that once the person whose picture was liked saw the ‘Like’, it altered the person’s brain for good, making the person feel elated but brought dysphoria to the other person who liked the post.

“So, as the dysphoria increases, it alters the brain chemistry then the person starts to have suicidal adulations.

“The person’s mood starts to alter, and as the mood alters, the person goes through depression, thereby losing interest in what he or she ordinarily love to do.”

Dysphoria is an emotional state that can follow a variety of mental illnesses or physical conditions. A person with dysphoria often experiences profound uneasiness and dissatisfaction with life, followed by depression, anxiety and agitation. (NAN)

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