How Social Media Can Perpetuate Negative Body Image in Addiction Recovery

Social media use in addiction recovery

Statistics report approximately 2.77 billion social media users around the world – and with the ease and accessibility of technology today, it’s not hard to become entrenched in applications like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The Pew Research Center explains that about 88% of young adults ages use social media – but even other age groups, such as those in the 30 to 49-year-old age range, report a total of 64% in use. It’s hard to get away from technology, even though it’s helped us in some instances. Certain apps can help those in addiction recovery track their substance use or keep notes of their mental health state throughout the week – but unfortunately, social media can perpetuate negative thoughts for those who aren’t careful.

The National Eating Disorders Association covered several comments of young teens and adults regarding their perceptions of social media and body image:

“People create a ‘fake’ self.”

“I think that social media platforms hurt because young people are now having their bodies judged online in addition to being judged in person, which causes them to feel trapped.”

“…We’re relying on judgments from people we’ll never meet to determine our worth.” 

For those in addiction recovery, body image can be a concerning topic – especially because many in recovery battle some of the mental, physical and spiritual repercussions that come from substance abuse. Weight gain or weight loss, dental hygiene concerns, aging from drug abuse and more take time to restore in treatment – and if social media isn’t used wisely, it can be a harmful tool that perpetuates harmful thinking.

With social media having so much influence in the United States and abroad, it’s important to consider the fact that what we see online could be significantly impacting the way we view ourselves – but if we can learn to utilize this technology for our benefit, we’ll find that this connection could boost our success in treatment rather than hinder it.

If you’re ready to seek help for addiction, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers, and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.