Social Media Is Influencing Teens To Adopt Mental Illness Identities, Researchers Say

Researchers have examined the troubling trend of teens self-diagnosing mental illness through social media. 

new paper published earlier this month in Comprehensive Psychiatry proposed that “social contagion” through prolonged social media use can explain why some teens, mostly adolescent females, self-diagnose their purported rare mental illnesses and personality disorders online. 

“We believe there is an urgent need for focused empirical research investigation into this concerning phenomenon that is related to the broader research and discourse examining social media influences on mental health,” said the study’s lead author, John D. Haltigan, and co-author, Gayathiri Rajkumar, in a recent article for Reality’s Last Stand.

The paper focused on the uptick in teens presenting with tics with no known biological cause and the resurgence of the extremely rare multiple personality disorder, now called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), in which a person claims to harbor multiple distinct personalities. Also mentioned are the prevalence of autism, depression, eating disorders, and gender identity-related conditions on social media. 

“That rates of teen and adolescent depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation have risen precipitously since the advent of social media and smartphones is likely no coincidence,” the authors said.

The paper proposes that social media platforms like TikTok, whose core user base are teen girls, and the popularity of online communities that glamorize mental illness, may act as a “spread vector” for adolescents to adopt various disorders as part of their online personas.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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