31. Social Media Created New Mental Disorders
Have you heard of FOMO? It stands for Fear Of Missing Out. If you are a heavy social media user – if getting dozens or even hundreds (if not thousands) of “likes” on your posts and photos give you a buzz that you need to get through your day – then you may have it. The curated nature of social media, in which you only see positive moments like vacations from everyone around you, can lead to the idea that you aren’t living your life to the fullest, which drives the fear of missing out on some intangible joy of living.
FOMO causes people to check their social media handles much more than they ordinarily would. And it’s not just a term to describe why people check their social media. It’s reflective of how social media is rewiring our brains. For many, seeing the approval of their peers, or even strangers, through likes, comments, etc., can release dopamine, one of the brain’s reward chemicals. That causes a reinforced feedback loop in which people continue to check their social media more and more for that feeling of validation. The way we use social media can change our brain chemistry, leading to new disorders.