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  • Mental Health Effects of Excessive Screen Time

    If we’re honest, most of us would admit we look at some form of digital screen more than we do the face of our friends and loved ones. From our phones to iPad, laptops and flatscreen TVs the size of an entire wall, screen time for most people is definitely on the rise. But what exactly are the mental health effects of all of this screen time?

    Sleep Deprivation

    Without realizing it, many of us are hampering our natural sleep cycle with so much screen time. Our electronic devices emit a blue light that interferes with our production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Screen time before bed will make it very hard to fall asleep. And a lack of quality sleep can cause our mood to dip and make it hard for us to deal with everyday stressors.

    Impaired Social Skills

    There is a bit of irony when it comes to screen time. We’re on our devices more and more as a way to connect with others. And yet, in reality we are alone when socializing digitally. Fewer real-life social interactions can lead to social anxiety and loneliness.

    Poorer Emotional Regulation

    Too much time on our devices affects our ability to register and process our emotions. Exposure to aggressive or violent media, for example, can impair our emotional judgment of real life events. It can also trigger our own aggressive tendencies. 

    Lower Self-Esteem

    Social media platforms are where we go to compare ourselves to others. Often when scrolling through our timelines, we perceive everyone else to have their act together, to be happier, healthier and more successful. Doing this day after day can take a real toll on our self-esteem.

    Finding Healthier Alternatives

    If you think you’re spending too much time in front of your screens, there are some steps you can take. First, make a commitment to keep TVs and all other devices out of your bedroom so you can ensure a good night’s rest.

    Make dinner time with the family a “screen-free zone.” 

    And finally, take up some new hobbies, connect with old friends and try to get outdoors more. Your mental health will thank you.

     

    Services we offer at Stride Forward Counseling that are both in-person in Catonsville MD and virtual:

    • Anxiety therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Depression therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Grief therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Teen therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Young adult therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Life transitions therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Men’s issues therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Perfectionism therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Relationship issues therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Highly sensitive people therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Telehealth therapy 
    • Counseling for trauma in Catonsville or virtual
    • Women’s issues therapy in Catonsville or virtual
    • Mental health services in Catonsville or virtual

     

    SOURCES:

    https://www.adventhealth.com/blog/how-screen-time-affects-mental-health

    https://www.opal.so/blog/screen-time-and-mental-health

    https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-03-16/is-screen-time-a-serious-threat-to-mental-health