Metaverse technology has been around for a long time. But the infrastructures and platforms for general use are still in their infancy. As such, it is difficult to determine the mental health implications of the metaverse. However, it is not too early to start a conversation about the impact of the metaverse on mental health.
Basically, the metaverse is a change in the way we interact with technology. If we think of the Internet as two dimensions, we can think of the metaverse as three dimensions. It’s an immersive experience by using digital selves or avatars. The metaverse may include the use of augmented reality and/or virtual reality. It allows users to be “inside” the Internet, digitally interacting with other individuals, objects, properties and environments.
As with any technology, there will definitely be many mental, physical, and emotional benefits to the future metaverse. But it should also have a negative impact. Confidence in the metaverse is undoubtedly one of the most feared issues.
What can we think about metaverse addiction and its mental health implications?
In fact, metaverse technology has many advantages. But it can also cause addiction and mental health issues. This was recently highlighted in undisclosed social media documents about social media platforms. That was warned by a Facebook whistleblower working in the metaverse this technology is really addictive.
In addition, research has shown that the Internet, video games and social media in particular, can causes or exacerbates mental health problems. Just to talk about anxiety or depression, attention deficit disorder, eating disorders, body dysmorphic disorder. In addition, they can be very addictive.
The metaverse and the brain
In addiction, addictive substances and addictive behavior can provoke the region of the brain responsible for happiness. By stimulating the release of “good feeling” neurotransmitters such as dopamine, the brain begins to relate these things or behaviors to feelings of happiness. Through repetition, the brain and the individual begin to rely on this experience to feel good. In other words, the individual builds trust and became dependent on it, psychologically and physiologically.
Video games release dopamine each time you move towards the goal of the game. Social media releases dopamine every time you receive a follow, comment or other engagement. Cryptocurrency trading and investing releases dopamine every time your investment goes up in value.
Regarding the metaverse, virtual interactions need to be more intense and more inspiring and more real than we experience today through our phones, tablets and computers. So they can be fentanyl in heroin or the crack in cocaine. We can imagine the impact of this virtual pornography addiction, virtual video game addictionsvirtual social media addictions, and so on.
The metaverse and relationships
Social media is meant to connect us. And in many ways, they did. But we can also say that they motivated us more alone and farther away than ever. Interactions through social media are not as real or satisfying as real -world relationships.
Social media users often believe they are connecting with friends or family through social networks. But really, they are at home and alone. Similarly, social video game experiences leave the player isolated with no real human interaction. It is important to recognize this. In fact, loneliness can contribute to or exacerbate mental health issues as well as addiction.
Social experiences in the metaverse can feel more real through the use of the technology involved. But similar to today’s digital experiences, the individual within the metaverse is always alone. Real human interaction and connection is an important aspect of our lives and mental well -being that needs to be maintained with or without a metaverse.
Psychoses, depression and serious mental illnesses
The most bizarre potential effect of participating in virtual interactions has to do with psychoses. These are the particular ones involved delusions and hallucinations. These are not the only possible consequences, or even the most common. Excessive use of digital technology is associated with many mental health issues, such as somatic symptoms (6%), the Depression (4%), psychoticism (0.5%), paranoid thoughts (0.5%) and severe mental illnesses (2%).
However, Psychoses are one of the most serious and is therefore worth considering, especially if a company with nearly 1.9 billion daily users proposes to move to an immersive digital experience.
Virtual interaction can help people who have experienced scams. However, the proposed metaverse is not a controlled clinical environment. And the help provided in these virtual environments is simple an escape from problems. In other words, they do not provide a lasting solution. But the fact is that there is growing evidence of an association between digital use and clinical issues related to delusions and assumptions.
The metaverse and sanity
The use of digital can save and relieve the stresses of life. However, excessive digital use is linked to many mental health issues, including irritability, stress and somatic symptoms and so on.
While emphasizing the negative consequences of technology, it is also important to recognize that virtual reality is used in treatment of various mental health problems such as phobias and various anxiety disorders. Technology has also changed the ways we search and access to professional help.
There are virtual reality companies that work mental wellness apps for this space. Therefore, everything is not a disaster. One thing that most should agree on is that more research needs to be done to understand how the metaverse can and does affect our feelings and behavior.
A look at the signs of digital addiction
Here are some obvious signs of digital addiction:
- Use your digital device longer than intended.
- Don’t refuse to use your digital device.
- Spend a lot of time thinking about using digital when not digitally active.
- Participate in digital use compulsively or experience the urge to use your digital device when you are not using it.
- The use of digital has contributed to neglect of important aspects of life such as work, school and sleep.
- Continue to use digital despite contributing to the problems in your life.
- Loss of interest in social activities and entertainments you’ve previously enjoyed that are detrimental to digital use.
- Use of digital devices in hazardous situations such as driving a motor vehicle, crossing the street, cooking or engaging in another potentially hazardous activity.
- you suffer from stress, anxiety, sadness, anger or other negative mental health symptoms and unhealthy as a result of digital use. You may also experience these symptoms if you are not connected digitally.
- You see yourself interacting the use of digital to attract happiness or escape reality.
- Lying or hiding digital usage from your loved oness, teacher, supervisor, colleague or other person.
What if I or a loved one suffers from digital addiction?
Digital addictions can be even more destructive, damaging mental, physical, emotional, financial and social well-being and depleting individuals to the point of having detrimental effects on daily work and relationships.
As such, it is important to identify the signs of digital addiction and in seek help from a digital addiction specialist if you or a loved one is struggling with a digital addiction. If you can’t avoid using digital yourself, take a look an addiction therapist or addiction psychiatrist digital addiction specialist
Family therapy or couples therapy for digital addiction can also be beneficial. This solution will help loved ones learn more about digital addiction and how to best support themselves in their recovery. And what abouta group therapy or self -help groups? This approach can help reduce feelings of loneliness, build support and learn about recovery tools. Depending on the severity of the digital addiction, some people may benefit from more than 28 days of inpatient treatment.
Treatment methods may include cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavior change therapies. Drug therapy may be needed to treat underlying mental health issues.
The metaverse will lead to an evolution in our technological age. It can provide many benefits such as a reducing the carbon footprint, medical progress, immersive educational experiences And many more.
However, like other technologies today, many are likely developing a digital addiction through the metaverse. And there are negative mental health consequences as a result of this digital advancement, because we are now experiencing the disease of internet addiction and other technology addictions.
This is important to identify digital addiction and signs of digital addiction. Also, you need to know aboutSteps you can take to reduce your reliance on digital. This is also true for treatment options.