Apart from the usual social media platforms, dating apps are gaining huge popularity these days. While they help open up the dating pool for people, they also tend to negatively affect individuals already suffering from symptoms of loneliness and social anxiety.
To understand the impact of dating apps on such people, a group of researchers from Ohio State University conducted a study on college students who described themselves as lonely and socially anxious and used dating apps.
Higher levels of social anxiety indicated lack of social skills
The study included 269 participants who used social media platforms including dating apps to an extent that it hampered their studies. To study the level of loneliness and social anxiousness, the students were asked questions that aimed to understand their level of anxiousness around other people and the amount of time they spent on dating apps.
The findings suggested that some individuals with higher levels of social anxiety suffered from lack of confidence in their social skills. Due to this feeling, people with higher levels of social anxiety preferred to meet people on social media, especially apps which did not involve real life, face to face interactions. They preferred the virtual world as it allowed them to protect themselves.
However, such predisposition was detrimental. Most participants with social anxiousness and loneliness admitted that their social media usage often hindered with their studies as well as other aspects of their lives. On the other hand, participants who suffered from only social anxiety or had low or no levels of loneliness did not display symptoms of social media addiction.
Restricting social media use increases chances of finding worthwhile date
Creating certain limits for social media usage, including dating apps, could in fact be beneficial for one’s mental health as well as help in building social relationships. Most experts suggest that dating can be made a fun and enjoyable experience by limiting the number of people one matches with and going on a date. It is always worthwhile to wait for someone who has similar interests and hobbies rather than swiping just to find how many matches one can make.
Lead author Kathryn Coduto suggested two ways to avoid negative effects of app usage. These were:
- Being selective about the app choice and usage
- Regulating usage
Due to the small size of the study and as well as self-reported data, the findings did not certainly mean continuous usage of dating app was problematic.
Treatment for anxiety disorders
Occasional anxiety is a part of normal life. In fact, anxiety is often disregarded as a common nervous feeling. However, if this anxiety gets so overwhelming that it interferes with one’s daily life, then the individual might be suffering from an anxiety disorder. It is therefore important to identify the symptoms of anxiety and seek help at the earliest. Some of the common symptoms of an anxiety disorder are:
- Getting easily tired or fatigued
- Difficulty in focusing and concentration
- Sleep pattern disorder
- Muscle tension
- Mood swings
- Being irritable and short tempered
If you notice yourself or your loved spending a lot of time on social media, then you might be suffering from social anxiety. Get in touch with the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California for guidance on the best social anxiety clinics in California that offer customized intervention plans for long-lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is displaying other symptoms of anxiety and is looking for state-of-the-art social anxiety treatment centers equipped with effective treatment interventions, call our 24/7 helpline (855) 972-9459 or chat online with a representative for further details.