How People With Bipolar Disorder React On Social Media And Guides For Detection

How People With Bipolar Disorder React On Social Media And Guides For Detection

November 11, 2018 2 By Siripreeya

Since there have been hundreds of studies about the new media and technology such as: how televisions work, how smartphones function, how Google gathers uncountable number of information on the internet, and now, here we are researching how online media users behave on online social media. Over 2 billion people in this world use the new media to consume information, communicate, or whatever it works for them. They use new media believing themselves as normal users, trust me, I believe I am too. Normal users have an ability to control themselves on social media, and they are conscious of what they do online. They are able to manage their emotions while expressing things or doing activities on social media. On the other hand, if we take a look on a group of people who has an emotional disorder, we will obviously see the difference between normal users and them.

Can you see the difference?

Brief summary of What is Bipolar Disorder.

I am 100% sure, well, at least pretty sure, that most of you have ever heard about Bipolar Disorder (BD). Generally, Bipolar Disorder can be described as a disease associating with function, cognition, and social impairment. Believe it or not, those associations, which we may consider them as fundamental things in life, significantly effect life quality of Bipolar Disorder patients. BD can have essential impacts on the social lives of patients leading to lack of social interaction and isolation.

Differences between the use of social media by normal users and Bipolar Disorder Patients.

Online social media used by Bipolar Disorder patients is dissimilar to those normal users. There is an academic research called Bipolar Disorder Affects Behavior and Social Skills On The Internet which assessed 30 patients with BD and 30 people with controls. They used a standard sociodemographic including Facebook number of friends and lifetime estimated number of offline contacts for an examination. From the result, Patients with BD have greater difficulty to function tasks and lower levels of satisfaction. Not only that, but also fewer friends online and fewer close friends online. Moreover, they have less knowledge of the internet and less experience. This suggests that patients with BD have poorer social networks and weaker social interactions reflecting a lower understanding of the Internet and its use. This analyzation can identify the stage of the disease at which the patients become socially impaired with decreasing in their cognitive or functional abilities. 

Results of the study

 

Should they continue using it? Or should they avoid using it?

Some might say that Bipolar disorder patients should not be using social media or technology since it may worsen their symptoms. To be more specific, excessive use, especially during late nights, can trigger the symptoms. Consequently, this also effects sleep which can lead to physical and mental malfunction. Also, those in depressive episodes reported a nonstop streaming media like Netflix or movies. Depressive episodes are worsened. The more they try to meet new people on the internet, the more lonely and jealous they become. When it comes to manic episode, the patients tend to be excessive in online shopping and gambling, spending money as much as how enthusiastic they feel. This enhances their satisfactions, but it is extremely dangerous for their wallets.

 

On the other hand, not using it can be harmful, because they may feel lost and more separated. In fact, there are several positive effects on the patients. First of all, they are able to identify their mood shifts by the different patterns of their social media uses. They can distinguish their emotions by comparing their online behavior between the normal times and during manic episodes. Moreover, they are able to connect with others who also suffer from mental health problems. Sharing how they feel with people who truly understand them can reduce stress and depression. Also, they are able to use their own contents as an encouragement by looking at their old happier times.

 

Comparing between Manic episode and Depressive episode

 

Now, let’s see an interesting experience from a BD patient. The patient reported that by the time she was having a manic episode, she tended to be more enthusiastic and activated to interact on online social media including strange hours she posted on Facebook, twitter, and blogs. As she was monitoring her computer and her social accounts, she was obsessed and could not stop. On the other hand, there was the time she was having a depression, she found that her online activities declined. Her posts, tweets, and Facebook message became fewer as the depression continued. This can be interpreted that Bipolar Disorder has an absolute impact on how patients react with online social media.

Is there any technology or invention that helps detecting Bipolar Disorder users?

Bipolar Disorder is a life-long condition. I must say it is impossible to absolutely heal the BD patients. There are various researches of Bipolar Disorder remedial that are used to relieve symptoms including medication, psychotherapy, education, lifestyle management and support from family members or others. These methods cure the patients in real lives. At the same time, new media and technology has developed its function to help curing the BD patients on online social media uses.

Ranked to be the most widespread online social media, Facebook has developed its qualities and functions to help detecting Bipolar Disorders users. Facebook gathers information including likes, shares, frequency of usage, places checked in by users. From those information, Facebook announced that while it monitors emotional states of users, it does not allow the advertisers to target them. Facebook also tested a feature that allow users to block sensitive topics on their feeds. Therefore, the BD patients or even normal users can decide and choose what kind of content they want to see on their feeds.

There is also an academic study called ‘Facebook use in Affective Disorder(FDA) study’. FDA will gather the metadata when the users is active on Facebook including the time and date of posting, writing, sharing, uploading contents, but it is not allowed to see the information of the activities. Users will also be asked to complete a mood survey to see if there is a connection between their emotions and online activities. By collecting these data, the researchers plan to create an application that helps predicting the user’s symptoms and then warn the users or their parents about their mental health.

Facebook gathers information about user’s activities.

Recommended applications for moods tracking.

Furthermore, there are many interesting smartphone applications that help detecting Bipolar Disorder patients by tracking their moods and help managing their swing emotions. For example, iMoodJournal, highest ranking in Iphone and Android, is a mood tracking journal by logging the factors that affect the user’s mood such as stress, medication, energy, and sleep.

There are other applications that is available for Bipolar Disorder patients such as T2 Mood Tracker, Brainwave Tuner, DBSA Wellness tracker, DBT Diary Cards and Skill Coach, Breathe2Relax etc. We can obviously see that application inventors pay attention to user’s conscious and emotion. These do not purpose only on Bipolar Disorder patients, but also on normal users. So feel free to check them out and give them a try. 

Be aware!

We, as normal users, should be aware of Bipolar Disorder detection for others. If we have ever detected a sign or any reaction that is predicted to be Bipolar Disorder symptom, whether from others or even ourselves, remind others and the society that Bipolar Disorder is not a small deal. It would not make sense to tell them to go see the therapists, they would think you are crazy. Start off with the basic Bipolar tests would be easier. Take it serious by guiding them to practice some Bipolar Disorder tests or answer some specific questions that help detecting the symptoms. There are many interesting tests which can be done easily online.

Here are some practical test links: 

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/clinical-resources/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-disorder-self-test

https://www.clinical-partners.co.uk/for-adults/bipolar/test-for-bipolar

 

Anything that is related to mental health or dealing with emotion seems to be difficult to predict and rather complicated to understand. It is not something to be left ignored. Inventions that help detecting mental health issues can spot people with Bipolar Disorder online and send support their way.

Sources

  1. Everything You Need to Know About Bipolar Disorder: https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder#symptoms
  2. The good and bad of using social media with Bipolar Disorder: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-laid-bare/2017/05/the-good-and-bad-of-using-social-media-with-bipolar-disorder/
  3. Bipolar Disorder Affects Behavior and Social Skills on the Internet:        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3823569/
  4. Bipolar Disorder Leads to Poor Online Social Interaction: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/your-online-secrets/201409/bipolar-disorder-leads-poor-online-social-interaction
  5. What’s the Difference Between Depression and Manic Depression?: https://psychcentral.com/lib/whats-the-difference-between-depression-and-manic-depression
  6. How Facebook can be used to predict a manic episode: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kbznv9/how-facebook-can-be-used-to-predict-a-manic-episode
  7. The best bipolar apps of 2018: https:// www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/top-iphone-android-apps
  8. Cover Picture: https://ladyboss.asia/3-interesting-ways-japanese-are-using-social-media-and-how-to-reach-them/