Impact of Technology on Mental Health: Challenges and Solutions

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Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Impact of Technology on Mental Health: Challenges and Solutions

This essay will explore the impact of technology on mental health, discussing both the negative effects, such as screen addiction and reduced social interaction, and the positive aspects, like teletherapy and mental health apps. It will offer solutions for balancing technology use with mental well-being. At PapersOwl, you’ll also come across free essay samples that pertain to Addiction.

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The Impact of Technology on Mental Health

Technology has become an essential part of our world today; everywhere you go, you will find screens. 2.5 billion people used smartphones in 2019, and the presentence of users has risen from 10 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2018. (Statista.) With all these people using technology, what are the effects on our health? Just as important as physical health, our mental health? Researchers have found links between depression and anxiety to technology. (Vitelli.) With rising anxiety and depression rates in the United States, we need more solutions to these problems, and using technology more responsibly can help.

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This essay will highlight the connections between technology and mental health and provide solutions to our unhealthy relationship with technology.

The Rise of Internet Addiction Disorder

First of all, there is a largely unnoticed and new mental disorder called Internet Addiction Disorder. People who suffer from this addiction can spend many hours on technology, Internet, or video games and are unable to limit the amount of time spent on technology. This is also accompanied by mood swings, a lack of social life, and family conflicts. (Cash.) Like any addiction, when said thing is used, it releases dopamine in the brain; dopamine makes us happy. When lots of dopamine is released into the brain when using technology, it creates a sort of “high.” Then, the addicted person will do anything to keep stimulation. (Rae.) To quote a patient from the article Internet Addiction: A Brief Summary of Research and Practice, “I feel technology has brought so much joy into my life. No other activity relaxes me or stimulates me like technology.

However, when depression hits, I tend to use technology as a way of retreating and isolating.” Of course, like any mental disorder, there are solutions and things to help relieve. Psychologists recommend a variety of ways to cope with Internet Addiction. Make new schedules that will contradict technology use patterns. Use external activities and events to make you turn off the screens and set goals. Make reminders to remind the patient of the benefits of breaking their addiction. Enter a support group and family therapy. (Steel.) A treatment most effective for alcohol and drug addiction seems to be a good way to approach internet addiction as well; Motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing is developed to help patients give up addictive actions by learning new behavioral skills; the interviewer uses techniques such as reflective listening, open-ended questions, affirmation, and helping individuals who express their concerns about change.

Social Media and Anxiety

Second of all, nearly 18 percent of Americans have an anxiety disorder; that’s about 40 million people. (Egen.) Studies have shown that there is a link between technology and anxiety. There is a social media anxiety disorder. Those who have this disorder suffer from anxiety when being away from their social media accounts, even for a few minutes. (Fader.) Common symptoms include constantly checking social media accounts even in a conversation, neglecting school or work to be on social media, feeling withdrawal symptoms when not able to be on social media, the feeling to share things with others on social media overwhelmingly, always keeping your phone on you 24/7 to check social media, having anxiety when not able to check your notifications, and negative impacts on personal or professional life because of constant use of social media usage.

In fact, obsessively using social media can cause more than just anxiety; too much Internet can cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness. Social media anxiety disorder cannot only have mental health complications but also physical ones, including eye strain, neck pain, and lower back problems. Also, the way we sit constantly isn’t doing us any good either. Sitting around all-time lazily can cause obesity, heart disease, nutrition problems, and risk of stroke and even certain kinds of cancers. (Fader.). But what can you do to help this problem? First off, it would be best to realize that most of the people who post all those amazing things on Facebook, Instagram, etc., have a normal life just like you and are only posting the good stuff. Sitting there, doing nothing, being sad that your life is not as cool as others on social media won’t change anything about it. Most importantly, you must get out and experience real life, unbothered by social media life which is not real life. And, of course, they are always therapists and counselors if this is too difficult to deal with on your own.

Teen Depression and Screen Time

Now, the thing that has caused the most concern is teen depression. A study has observed that teenagers are becoming greater in depression, feeling hopeless, and considering suicide. (Garcia-Navarro.) Jean Twenge, one of the study’s authors, states, “Researchers found a sudden increase in teens’ symptoms of depression, suicide risk factors, and suicide rates in 2012 — around the time when smartphones became popular”. The researchers found that 71 percent of teenagers that spend time on their technology for five hours or more are more likely to have one risk factor for suicide. (Garica-Navarro.) And the content consumed makes no difference whether teenagers are watching something innocent like puppy videos or something more serious. It is the amount of screen time that matters when talking about higher instances of depression. Research shows going above three hours a day is where you will see an increased risk of depression, and it is best to stay around one-hour screen time for teen mental health. Lulu Garica-Navarro, the author of the article “The Risk of Teen Depression and Suicide is Linked to Smartphone Use.” recommends putting the phone down and spending your free time on things better for your mental health and happiness, like resting, spending time seeing family and friends, getting out, and exercising. Garica-Navarro also thinks, ideally, that the best for a teen to get a smartphone is fourteen, supposedly when they are at an age where they can handle the demands of social media.

Conclusion: The Need for Responsible Technology Usage

In conclusion, technology, especially social media, affects your mental health negatively. And a world where screens and technology are used every day, everywhere, and social media is used by almost everyone, the youth seem to be in trouble. Teenagers look to be the most likely to be affected by their technology use. A researcher found that suspiciously, depression rates in teens grew around the same time smartphones did in popularity. When the popularity and accessibility of smartphones grow, the age of its users gets younger. This is something that should be avoided, especially by parents. (Nichols.) Technology does more hurt than good for the people using it in the long term. It causes anxiety and even makes you addicted. And then, the people affected must come up with solutions like therapy or counseling to a problem that could have otherwise been avoided through using technology and social media more responsibly, like setting limits for time on phones, tv, etc. And using social media in healthier ways, realizing social media isn’t important when considering your self-worth. Technology has done wonders; social media can bring us together, but in the future, we cannot abuse this man-made gift, or it may have harsh consequences for future generations.

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Impact of Technology on Mental Health: Challenges and Solutions. (2023, Jun 18). Retrieved from