Addiction to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social platform may appear harmless at first, but it can have serious unintended consequences. It can cause a dopamine response in the brain, which is very similar to what happens when you use drugs or alcohol. It’s referred to as “social media addiction” by experts.
Social media platforms have grown exponentially in recent years, particularly in terms of reaching people of all ages and needs. Every type of platform is now available, including socializing, dating, businesses, and even mental health resources.
What exactly is social media addiction?
While social media keeps the world connected, social media addiction is becoming a global issue that is only getting worse.
As of 2018, social media was used by 3.1 billion people, or roughly one-third of the global population.
According to estimates, over 210 million people worldwide suffer from internet and social media addiction.
Addiction to social media is very similar to behavioral addiction. We devote an inordinate amount of time to social media activities. It compels us to revisit social media platforms.
You suddenly feel depressed, unproductive, and irritable, all because of the world inside your phone.
If you can say something to hundreds of people in one click, you won’t want to have real social interactions. Instead of learning something new, your mind will be preoccupied with viewing photos, liking posts, and commenting.
What impact does social media addiction have on your life?
According to research, social media addiction causes a surge in dopamine due to the reward center part of our brain being activated with each like, comment, thumbs up, and retweet.
When our reward center is activated and dopamine is released, the behavior is reinforced, and the brain can leave you wanting more and more, as well as feeling addicted.
Addiction persists because it takes more of the same stimulus to activate the same level of dopamine. This has an impact on your cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and psychological health.
When you log in your social media profile, for example, you may experience an “ahh” moment. Isn’t that a sigh of relief? However, feelings of distress with or without physiological symptoms (for example, fidgetiness, increased heart rate, or tearfulness) when not using social media
When an addict returns to social media, he or she may notice an immediate return to old behaviors and consequential impairments.
How do you overcome social media addiction?
Do people ask you to put down your phone? Do your kids complain that you’re never available? Do you ever miss or arrive late for events because you were distracted by social media? Are your kids getting in trouble at school as a result of it?
When you admit you have a problem, you must begin treatment as soon as possible. It does not mean that you must completely avoid social media, but setting limits—the controlled use of the internet—may be a better idea.