Monday, July 22, 2024

How can dating apps affect mental health?

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Mireya has been working as a clinical psychologist for 20 years and sees between 15 and 20 patients a week. In the past six months you’ve discovered something that’s bothering you: Number of inquiries related to dating apps.


Remember, for example, a patient whose sleep problems depended on whether or not the app was activated. And for people who come with symptoms anxiety Due to uncertainty or distress Resulting from rejection and abandonment.

But the use of these applications is increasing significantly day by day: what is happening? Is the growth of this new way of communicating more important than emotional well-being?

To answer this you must first know Underlying factors In these consultations from users to specialists.


What effects does it have matches In the brain?

A few years ago there was a lot of talk about it Addiction to substances such as cannabis. Then came the scientific collapse about the effects of screen addiction, and now, perhaps, it is the turn of dating apps.

The rise of these Applications It is noteworthy, although the study of its psychological and physiological effects is not developing as quickly. Since the creation of the first platform, Grindr, in 2009, many other companies have emerged with different options and a common goal: Connecting people for an emotional and sexual purpose.

Shortly after the phenomenon appeared, this was previously stated by Professor Elias Abu Jaoude from Stanford University These types of tools can be addictivebecause it provides users with a high It’s like medicine. This happens when receiving Likes Or a matcheswhich is when two people give each other a Likes mutual.

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Psychological influences on self-esteem Self-concept or social identity after a matches They are clear. However, the effect on the brain has not been sufficiently studied, or at least there is no clear theoretical model. Naturally, everything refers to the reward system and the secretion of dopamine and other hormonal substances.


This system is the area of ​​the brain associated with feeling happy and is responsible for repeating the behavior regardless of whether it is reciprocated or not. Moreover, it has been shown that it is activated not only when pleasure is generated, but also once the pleasurable stimulus is anticipated to arrive at some point. This occurs more intensely with anything related to love or the search for a romantic partner, as it has implications for survival.

Does addiction exist? matches?

This is a difficult question to answer, as objective data on how much would be needed matches and its relationship to other sociodemographic and clinical variables, and not all applications make this information public.

For example, andn At least 70 billion people are registered on Tinder matches Since its inception. In fact, his own program It has an option for users to download their statistics.

However, it is true that the frequency with which a person does it matches It is relative and the factors involved are unknown, as shared by the users themselves in the forums. What is beyond doubt is that we are facing a global revolution in terms of searching for a partner.

In 2019, Regulating consumers and users (OCU) confirmed this e.g One in ten Spaniards regularly use dating appsAnd one in three of these users was addicted. A more recent report, from 2024, shows similar numbers: More than four million people use these digital tools every month in this country.

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Taking into account the data, it makes sense to think Possible addiction to matchesEven more so if it directly affects the brain’s reward system. On the other hand, it has been shown that uninstalling this type of application can generate a withdrawal syndrome in a person who experiences symptoms similar to “disengagement.” Of a certain substance, such as cocaine, for example.

What are the effects of receiving a Misfit?

he Misfit It is an outright rejection of the profile After obtaining a matches Before and even after starting the conversation history. This is what is known on WhatsApp or other digital media such as Shadows. Although in this case it is one level above, since Misfit It deletes both the profile and conversations with the person who sent them without any kind of notice. It’s as if the link never existed.

Some studies have proven that it is associated with the state of disappointment, sadness and despair that one experiences Self-esteem damaged And the picture. The rejected person may have intrusive thoughts related to punishment and guilt, such as: “They naturally don’t care if you’re worthless.” Or “What am I doing wrong that all of these things happen to me?”

Many neurobiological investigations into rejection and abandonment have found an answer in The grief circuit in the braincharacterized by decreased cortical activity and involvement in other associations with the autonomic nervous system.

One possible explanation suggests that emotional or sexual rejection activates specific brain regions, such as the ventral lateral prefrontal cortex and the insula, associated with rejection experiences recorded at an early age.

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Another possible scenario is that there is no response, and no matches no Misfit. Here the protagonist is anticipatory anxiety resulting from uncertainty. Many authors refer to this as the most inactivating because it has no maximum limit and is highly dependent on exposure to the stimulus.

As for the psychological and behavioral effects of this addiction, some of them can be mentioned: Constantly checking your cell phone to check the news, compulsive eating, and lack of appetite Experiencing a rejection response or trouble sleeping while waiting for a response to arrive.

These are actually behaviors similar to those recorded in highly toxic relationships or those now known as Bread crumbssupported by the psychological phenomenon of intermittent reinforcement.

From addiction to matches As it comes out

In managing this addiction, expectations, previous experience, level of self-esteem and some personality traits play an important role. Set boundaries Taking the time to use the app can help avoid compulsive behaviors. It’s also advisable to reduce dating expectations that arise from our contacts, and encourage real and meaningful conversations, as well as talking with trusted friends about app experiences.

There is no doubt that the way we communicate has changed and our nervous system must adapt. At that stage, when even previous strategies do not prevent the impact on mental health, seeking psychological help can be the decision that saves us from alcohol addiction. matches.

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