In today’s world, practically everyone uses social media of some kind. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to name a few. Even people who dislike Facebook (no pun intended) tend to at least scroll through their timeline, from time to time. After all, social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch or checking in with friends all over the world. Given the fact that people will share anything from wedding announcements to what they plan to have for breakfast tomorrow, it stands to reason that they will also reveal their emotional state, whether knowingly or not. In some cases, your friends may be constantly posting about partying with drugs and alcohol or that they have been isolating a lot lately. Both of which may be signs of dis-ease.
Over the last year, Facebook announced that they have begun “spidering” their platform with an algorithm to help identify troubled users in order to determine people who may be a risk to others or themselves. The goal is to identify troubled users, potentially open the door for intervention before something tragic happens. Many people who are struggling with mental illness, like addiction or depression, are usually pretty guarded as to talking about it. This is generally out of fear of judgment or social stigma. Both of which can deter people from seeking the help they need. Which is why there is an inherent value in “combing” social media for users in distress, who may be subtly crying out for help.
Spotting Substance Abuse on Facebook
At the Addiction Recovery Research Center in Roanoke, Virginia, a team of researchers may have found a way to identify users struggling with addiction by looking at social media messages, MIT Technology Review reports. The findings come from mining millions of “status updates,” looking for various keywords that were associated with substance use.
The researchers also looked at myPersonality, a project on Facebook which more than 4 million users participated, according to the article. The project involved a series of psychometric tests.
“Our best models achieved 86% for predicting tobacco use, 81% for alcohol use and 84% for drug use, all of which significantly outperformed existing methods,” say researcher Warren Bickel and co. “We believe social media is a promising platform for both studying SUD-related human behaviors as well as engaging the public for substance abuse prevention and screening.”
Getting Help for Addiction
Sometimes you personally can spot signs of trouble among your Facebook friends. If you think that your friend is struggling with drugs or alcohol, you might try to encourage them to seek help in a compassionate way. Ignoring the signs, or passing it off as just a little too much partying could have disastrous consequences. We can all have a hand in looking out for our friends and loved ones, just showing that you care can be immensely important.
If they intimate that they need help, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today. We can help them break the cycle of addiction, and learn how to live a life in recovery.