Author: James Anderson

Social Media Addiction Signs, symptoms, risks and treatment

what is social media addiction

Another perpetuating factor of social media addiction is the fact that the reward centers of the brain are most active when people are talking about themselves. When a person posts a picture they may receive positive social feedback, which stimulates the brain to release dopamine, rewarding that behavior and perpetuating the social media habit. While not an official diagnosis, social media addiction can contribute to serious consequences for a person’s physical and mental health. If logging into social media has become more of a problem than a hobby, it’s time to consider the possibility of having a social media addiction. Their excessive social media use isn’t necessarily about staying connected to others, either – though it can start that way. In this article, we will explore some of these risk factors, along with the harmful impact of social media overuse and how to identify and overcome it.

what is social media addiction

But social connection has become druggified by social-media apps, making us vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption. These apps can cause the release of large amounts of dopamine into our brains’ reward pathway all at once, just like heroin, or meth, or alcohol. They do that by amplifying the feel-good properties that attract humans to each other in the first place. In some cases, social media can be a welcome distraction if you’re isolated due to work or an illness.

Studies have found that these individuals have worsened social anxiety in groups, higher rates of depression, negative body-image, and lowered levels of empathy and compassion toward others when surveyed. Social media use becomes problematic when someone views social networking sites as an important coping mechanism to relieve stress, loneliness, or depression. Social media use provides these individuals with continuous rewards that they’re not receiving in real life, so they end up engaging in the activity more and more. This continuous use eventually leads to multiple interpersonal problems, such as ignoring real life relationships, work or school responsibilities, and physical health, which may then exacerbate an individual’s undesirable moods. This then causes people to engage in the social networking behavior even more as a way of relieving dysphoric mood states.

What Makes Social Media So Compelling?

This may occur because increased social media use may lead to sleep problems, lack of exercise, and peer pressure. In a 2020 paper in Business Ethics Quarterly, the authors pointed out that those who design social media platforms benefit from people with social media addiction and may intentionally design these platforms to be addictive. A digital detox, a period of time during which someone significantly reduces the time spent using electronic devices such a smartphones or computers, could be a wise precaution. This can include simple steps, such as turning off sound notifications and only checking social media sites once an hour. Other changes can include having periods in the day where there is self-imposed non-screen time, such as during meal times, or leaving the phone in a separate room at night so as not to disturb sleep.

  1. However, it is considered by some to be an emerging type of behavioral addiction similar to a gambling disorder or internet addiction.
  2. While social media can seem like mindless and relaxing fun, it actually has a significant effect on your brain.
  3. If you are concerned about your social media use, reach out for help so you can overcome the addiction before it becomes a bigger problem.
  4. Social media overuse is primarily a concern among teenagers and young adults, who are more likely to use social media.
  5. Such a reaction may be more felt whenever you make a post of your own and gain positive feedback.

Over the past couple of years, she had given up almost all activities that did not involve posting on Instagram/ Twitter and barely interacted with her family as well. Arya often planned her life around her posts, rather than the other way round.Recently, Arya’s Instagram followers had been decreasing, which led to her posting more pictures in hopes of gaining them back. For days, Arya stayed cooped up in her room staring at her phone and refusing to eat anything. She was convinced that if she lost enough weight, it would help her get more likes. A consultation with the psychiatrist revealed that Arya was not only addicted to social media but was also suffering from an eating disorder as a consequence.

Risks and downsides of social media addiction

Still, it is hard to put an approximate figure as so many of us regularly engage with social platforms. If you do suspect you have social media addiction, there are ways you can treat it to increase your overall well-being. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional for help with this type of addiction.

If you find yourself losing several minutes (or even hours) at a time after using social media, you’re not alone. In addition, there are some things you can do on your own to help overcome a social media addiction. A counselor or therapist can help identify the underlying causes or triggers of your compulsive social media use. For instance, using social media to escape from life’s problems rather than dealing with them directly. Social media addiction is not an officially recognized diagnosis or treatable mental health condition. However, that does not mean it cannot be harmful to your overall health and wellbeing.

Like other types of behavioral addictions, using social media can influence your brain in harmful ways. You can become so accustomed to scrolling through posts, images, and videos that it interferes with other areas of your life. There’s no such thing as an official diagnosis of “social media addiction.” But social media overuse is increasingly commonplace today, and it may have some serious repercussions to your physical and mental health. Another aspect of social anxiety triggered by online media use is the fear of missing out (FOMO), the extreme fear of not being included or missing a social event. FOMO can take a toll on self-esteem and lead to compulsive checking of social media platforms to ensure that an individual isn’t missing out on anything, which can cause problems in the workplace and in the classroom.

what is social media addiction

Their connectedness through social media isn’t merely periodical or frequent – it is constant. In our social media-driven world, it’s hard to imagine a life without Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We rely on these platforms to stay regularly connected with friends and family, follow the latest news, and share our thoughts and experiences. For people with substance use issues, like heavy drinking or drug use, a substance addiction treatment program may be recommended.

How Common Are Co-Occurring Disorders Involving Social Media Addiction?

An estimated 27% of children who spend 3 or more hours a day on social media exhibit symptoms of poor mental health. Overuse of social networking sites is much more problematic in children and young adults because their brains and social skills are still developing. Research has shown that adolescents who habitually use social media from a young age have severely stunted social interaction skills. Despite the fact that users are interacting with each other on these platforms, many of the these types of interactions don’t necessarily translate well to the real world.

Reducing screen time is a great way to combat problematic social media use; however, if the addiction is too severe you may require professional help. The phenomena of social media addiction can be largely attributed to the dopamine-inducing social environments that social networking sites provide. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram produce the same neural circuitry that is caused by gambling and recreational drugs to keep consumers using their products as much as possible. Studies have shown that the constant stream of retweets, likes, and shares from these sites cause the brain’s reward area to trigger the same kind of chemical reaction seen with drugs like Cocaine. In fact, neuroscientists have compared social media interaction to a syringe of dopamine being injected straight into the system. On average, she spent about six to seven hours on Instagram daily, mostly keeping track of likes, comments, followers and other numbers.