Will your TikTok feed send you to therapy?

Aubrie Selsmeyer / Advance-Titan - TikTok may feel like a cheap form of therapy, but overuse could result in mental health issues beyond anxiety and a short attention span

Aubrie Selsmeyer / Advance-Titan – TikTok may feel like a cheap form of therapy, but overuse could result in mental health issues beyond anxiety and a short attention span

Cassidy Johnson, Staff Writer

Right off the bat, I’d like to clear the air and let you know that I am not here to judge anyone for how much TikTok they use; that would be hypocritical of me. That after-class/work/gym scroll almost feels borderline therapeutic.

Funnily enough, however, it could actually have the opposite effect long-term.

Besides all of the typical reasons like the amount of blue light, the contribution to our shrinking attention span and the paralyzing effect it can have on people with anxiety, ADHD and depression, I believe that excessive TikTok use could worsen and possibly even contribute to mental illness. Before I freak anyone out, consider the keyword “excessive,” meaning your screen time daily average is consistently over 8 hours. At that point you should freak out or, even better, read the rest of this article — hopefully you’ll change and save your mind.

I’m definitely not a cognitive psychologist (or even a psychology major), but I did have a chance to have a conversation with one on this exact issue. I was lucky enough to attend Professor Quin Chrobak’s psych 101 lecture last semester, and of the many topics that I found interesting in his course, one was mental illnesses. When learning about the causes of bipolar disorder, Chrobak said something that immediately caught my attention. 

Apparently, people who depend on their emotions very heavily —  people like musicians, poets and artists— are more likely to be diagnosed with bipolar, especially if they rely on it for their livelihood. 

The thought process behind it is that those who depend on their emotions for money tend to have an unhealthy relationship with their emotions, often manipulating them for their artistry and going from extreme highs to extreme lows. Eventually, the mind and body get used to those swings and follow suit until these highs and lows become a natural part of their brain function.

Despite most people utilizing TikTok to avoid their feelings instead of expressing them, the same ideology still translates. 

One moment you’re watching a funny storytime, the next you’re watching a heartbreaking video about a dog needing surgery. You scroll again to see Alix Earle doing a Get Ready With Me for another party, and you can’t help but feel inspired as well as a little envious. In the matter of a minute, you’ve gone through four different emotions. Multiply that by your daily average, and you get a pretty nasty number. 

To put it in perspective, assuming a user watches two or three TikToks per minute; thus, eight-hours-daily scrollers would go through approximately 1,000  mood changes per day, not counting the ones from real life. 

The truth is, we were never meant to experience so many different emotions in such a short amount of time, and I truly believe that because of that, excessive TikTok use could have a very real effect on your mental health. 

So, the next time you’re mindlessly scrolling on TikTok, maybe consider setting your phone down and enjoying your own life instead of watching others live theirs — it could possibly even save you from a hefty therapy bill.