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The Effects of Social Media on Some People with ADHD
Many people have used social media platforms more than just to connect with others - we also use it to gather information about a specific topic 📶. Since many details are easily obtainable, we often use them to our advantage if we want to learn more or just be informed on how something works. Come to think of it, when you are not feeling well, you turn to your favored search engine, enter your queries about what you are struggling with, and in a split second, you'll probably have a forum or social media site that can answer your questions 👏.
Like how a simple cough can be an onset symptom of a more serious condition, like pneumonia. Or the worry that poor social interaction can be from a mental health condition, like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 🙋.
To continue, we’d like to highlight that easy access to social media platforms presents shared risks to anyone using them 👌. These social media sites may be a double-edged sword that can serve as a knowledge base of facts or be an area of misinformation and wrong clinical implications 😨, including our mental health. That's why it is great to have the best practice in using any of these platforms.
But how does the use of social media platforms affect those people with significant ADHD symptoms? What are the cognitive behavioral factors that are associated with social media usage?
The Dopamine Search of our Adult ADHD Brain
According to many reports, an increased risk of having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may be traced back to our brain's insufficient production of some neurochemicals, specifically the Dopamine, one of the happy hormones 🙂. Our constant search for these brain chemicals can be one of the reasons why we find some activities more engaging, like watching videos on Youtube or Tiktok's feed or having unlimited browsing time on Facebook or Instagram until our dopamine requirement is satisfied.
The happy hormone, Dopamine, gives us enough drive to do things depending on our interests. Our brain's 🧠 constant search for these brain chemicals may make us lose our impulse control and do whatever we think can give us an instant ration of Dopamine, like how we develop a new hobby based on what we previously saw on the internet. There are also moments when we hyper-fixate on activities because we find them too interesting, even though we have many more important matters to handle.
Like how we spend most of our time on mobile phones 📱 instead of doing other household chores.
Can't Stop Using Social Media? Here are the Other Possible Reasons
Aside from the lack of dopamine production in our brains, other possible ADHD symptoms may affect us in consuming social media far greater than the neurotypicals. These symptoms of ADHD may make us more exposed to digital media use 👌:
Affected Time Perception or Time Blindness
One of the possible reasons why some people with ADHD spend time more often on social media sites is their lack of time awareness. There are moments when I've been affected by this ADHD symptom to the extent that my previous boss reprimanded me ⏲️.
I was in the last stretch of my working hour and had to check something a bit from my Instagram regarding feedback from my followers. I unintentionally lost track of time and was snapped back to reality when my boss shouted at me about the passing minutes that I was unaware of.
Poor Organizational Skills and Being Easily Distracted
One thing I’m unaware of when doing a specific task is that I tend to constantly check social media sites for validation or feedback from other people ✅. For example, when cooking my dinner or preparing some meals for the family, I tend to check too many social media sites that show the same procedure but have a different presentation.
However, as I spend time learning more about what I am cooking and improving on the task, there's a higher chance that I'll remember something and get distracted while researching the meal preparation. I'll probably end up making a disaster in the kitchen or serving an entirely different dish than planned 🥗.
Easily bored when it comes to tasks or activities
Did you know that some people with ADHD may get bored quickly? When tasked with something not engaging personally, we'll switch between those activities that can give us more motivation or excitement. We tend to browse through our phones, check out the latest trends on Twitter and Instagram, read online articles that can help us understand something better, or even shift from one hobby project to another 😅.
That's why it can take a couple of hours for someone with ADHD to finish writing a couple of articles about something that requires research and detail. We tend to move from one device to another, trying out different activities that can help us make the task more interesting or more enjoyable for us.
Low self-esteem and lack of confidence in making decisions
Having social media sites around makes it easy for us to communicate with other people. The free access to these sites can quickly connect us to whoever we need to contact or speak to. The need to consider physical components while engaging with others can be eliminated because of social media's ease. Some people with ADHD's human nature can be easily solved by this technology, allowing us the comfort of becoming less physically available to other people. Yet, we convey the message that we want to say ❣️.
However, some young adults with ADHD may make this an excuse to stop getting outside and dwell on social media usage. They may feel more comfortable communicating online because other people may see their severe symptoms of ADHD and get judged just by it. However, according to research, the chance of developing symptoms of depression or internet addiction is relatively high for some people with ADHD when they overuse social media sites 😢.
These are some of the ADHD symptoms that may make us more fond to use social media. Other significant severe symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may affect how you consume the internet and other social media sites. But, can excessive usage of the advancement in technology lead to a much higher problematic social media consumption?
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The Negative Effects of Social Media on an ADHD Brain
Since we are more likely to consume our time on our mobile phones and be busy browsing social media sites, we can be prone to the adverse effects of prolonged use of internet sites. 🙁
Have you ever spent time watching Youtube videos instead of getting enough sleep for the next day? Or have you ever felt depressed or insecure because of other people's posts on Facebook? I have spent countless times watching short-form videos on Tiktok and haven't done anything significant in between.
These are some negative experiences we tend to have due to excessive social media consumption. While it can occur to other neurotypical people, the experience these effects bring to some people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can sometimes be much more severe.
Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders from ADHD & Social Media Use
An interesting study revolving around the correlation between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Social Media, Depression, and Anxiety was tested by a group of experts, and they did a systematic review of these factors. Before this study, established research connected social media to higher anxiety levels and depressive symptoms.
Knowing these conditions, experts held specific questions about how digital media use affects an ADHD brain and tested how social media usage can cause other comorbid psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression 😢.
It was found that people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are more prone to problematic social media use, which can lead to other conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Using different methods and questionnaires, like Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and Social Media Disorder Scale, the researchers concluded that social media usage by people with ADHD could lead to more serious psychiatric disorders, except for depression which does not have statistically significant results based on the study.
Some of you may have skipped this part of the article about the Lebanese adults that underwent the test regarding comorbid symptoms that may arise with ADHD & Social Media usage, but remember that anything excessive, ADHD or not, can lead to adverse effects on our mental health.
On the Brighter Side, Social Media Usage...
When we successfully control our tendencies and overcome ADHD symptoms that may cause excessive social media usage, it can bring us delightful experiences and opportunities 😀. There are lots of positive things that social media can bring, especially to those people with ADHD or any mental health struggles.
Brings people together
Because of the accessibility of these sites, some people with ADHD get easy access to information and have connections with other people. There are precious times when you meet new people who understand your struggles and relate with people with the same user input as you. The effects of significant symptoms brought by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are lessened because it is shared among people who understand it 👨❤️👨.
The internet is a great place to find support and camaraderie, which can be incredibly helpful for people with ADHD. Social media also allows us to stay connected with friends, families, and even strangers who later become friends along our ADHD journey.
Builds communities that give a sense of belongingness
As soon as you connect with people who share the same ADHD diagnosis as you, you tend to feel less isolated and misunderstood because you know that there are people out there who understand your struggles. This provides a much-needed sense of belongingness and support, which is especially helpful to those who feel hopeless about having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 🧑🤝🧑.
Adult ADHD can be a lot to handle. There are ADHD symptoms that can give us a hard time taking on our daily lives or tasks, but we can make it through with the proper support. Communities built through social media can spread around the world and create a connection between the same people on a shared understanding and journey. Though we aren't experts on having actual interpersonal relationships, communities created through social media are a great way to build meaningful connections and relationships with people who understand our challenges.
Presents others' point-of-view
Social media, if used correctly, can be a platform to express our ideas, feelings, and opinions regarding our perception of the world - not only of ADHD. A few healthy discussions can help us with data collection of new inputs that give light to things that we have little to no understanding of. There's also a chance for us to correct unhealthy misconceptions and express the truth when other people know little about our struggles 🙂.
People have varying perspectives regarding different matters, like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They often have strong feedback about how we should behave or what can make us feel better. Through social media, we can discuss these topics that aren't readily discussed as before.
Makes us express ourselves further
Growing up experiencing ADHD symptoms while undiagnosed, I often missed few opportunities to express myself and bring out the best in me. There were countless chances where I didn't join contests in illustration because I was too shy and thought I was not good enough 🖼️. There are also ADHD signs that make me less confident because I feel indifferent to other people.
But social media changed the course for me. I could open up and express myself, not only through words but also through visuals. It helps me keep track of my achievements and see how far I've come with the support of the people around me. Social media is a great platform to showcase your talents, as it can give you insights into what works best for you and further enhance what needs improvement.
How the Mini ADHD Coach Grew Through Social Media
Approximately two years ago, I was lost with what I felt, so I decided to turn to a mental health professional and ask if there was "something wrong" with me. He told me nothing was wrong, but my brain is wired differently than others 🧠. That was the day that I had my ADHD diagnosis. I felt relieved and confused at the same time. After understanding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders and reading through ADHD symptoms, I knew I had to share my experience with my ADHD journey.
I doodled everything I had gone through before and after my ADHD diagnosis, focused on things that may be related to ADHD, and made some comic strips about them. Through social media, The Mini ADHD Coach was established with the help of you guys 🤗. Though the ride isn't always smooth sailing, I enjoyed every journey I have spent with everyone, especially when I read through the comments about their experience with me.
The ADHD Community we have built through social media is an excellent example of how we can connect and support one another despite our challenges. We are all unique individuals, but our challenges unite us in a way that makes us stronger. Social media can be an essential tool for connecting with others and understanding ourselves better regarding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It can also be a great way to build meaningful connections and relationships that can help you along the way.
ADHD and Social Media: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is social media usage affected by ADHD?
Social media usage can be affected by a number of factors, not just ADHD. Having said that, it’s crucial to mention that there are reports indicating that social media use is associated with higher risk for anxiety and depressive symptoms when you have ADHD.
Will having ADHD make you prone to using social media more often?
Not necessarily. Many factors can contribute to social media usage, such as our interest, time, etc. However, some symptoms of ADHD can predispose us to excessive social media..
What ADHD symptoms can affect social media use?
Some of the symptoms include time blindness, lack of organizational skills, getting easily distracted, and being more comfortable more comfortable in virtual social interactions.