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The flipside side of banning TikTok

TikTok. (Photo: Twitter/@tiktok_us)

TikTokers can now experience a series of withdrawal symptoms mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and substance dependencies

By Puja Gupta

July 3, 2020 (IANSlife) Video-sharing application TikTok was a rage for people in India and its ban - along with 58 other Chinese apps - will certainly have a massive impact on people who were part of it every day, every minute. The followers, who had become addicted to the antics of the content developers, and spent hours glued to their handsets, can now experience a series of withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the symptoms they may experience are anxiety about what else may be snatched away, anger, that a "super" power can take away their source of joy and entertainment, repeatedly checking their phone to see if TikTok has magically started working, not knowing what to do with their free time, says clinical psychologist Dr Prerna Kohli.

 

“People will be more vulnerable in this period and can have urges that can destroy them for life. We can definitely recommend the fans and followers of TikTok to not indulge in transference by shifting to an alternate platform such as Instagram or Facebook, but instead utilize their time constructively in a more productive and beneficial hobby such as fitness, reading, online education, skills enhancement,” she suggests. 

 

The Content Developers, who over a period of time amassed millions of followers, earned revenue and fame from this platform. For the top Content Developers earning lakhs of rupees from their popularity, this income will abruptly end, causing financial hardship to them. The adulation and fan following had made them mini-celebrities. This kept them on a perpetual dopamine high, similar to that of a substance abuser. This sudden withdrawal of dopamine will result in mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and substance dependencies, and seeking illicit substances as sources for stimuli of dopamine release, says the four-time gold medalist who practices Logotherapy. 

 

“To overcome such a situation one should adapt form of grief counseling for the content developers so that they can mourn over their loss, work through their sadness, and prevent it from becoming a depression. The grief cycle has five stages and the object is to move to the fifth and final stage as soon as possible,” she notes about the resolution.

 

The first stage is denial, where the affected party believes that there is a mistake or the government will reverse its decision on this ban, Dr Kohli points out.

 

The second stage is anger, where the affected party will blame the circumstances, the Indian Government, the Chinese Government, and attempt to externalize and project their anger on others, she adds.

 

“The third stage is bargaining or questioning, they will attempt to bargain with God, keep fasts, promise to visit holy shrines in return for restitution. 

 

“The fourth stage is depression, this stage is when you are overwhelmed with grief and sorrow. The loss of losing one's celebrity status and livelihood. The loss of face in society (friends and relatives) is disheartening. The individual may feel suicidal. He or she starts to feel the real pain and the pain is similar to that of the death of a near and dear one.”

 

The fifth stage is acceptance, all healing in mind and spirit comes from acceptance. Once the person has accepted that the ban is permanent and that the way forward to find alternate outlets to their creativity, she concludes.

 

 
 

(This article is website exclusive and cannot be reproduced without the permission of IANSlife)

Puja Gupta can be contacted at puja.g@ians.in