Author: Alex Thompson

Social Media Addiction Signs, symptoms, risks and treatment

what is social media addiction

As social media continued to gain mainstream traction, more young people joined the platforms with anywhere internet access. Everyone had a smartphone in their pocket, so addiction started to become commonplace by the mid-2000s. A 2020 paper stated that people using negative language on social media were at higher risk for death from heart disease than those using positive language.

This leads to a tolerance forming, where the required level of stimuli needed (in this case social media) to get the same dopamine reaction increases. This tolerance can lead to dependence, where the user needs interaction with social media in order to feel normal. If left unchecked, the negative aspects of this dependence can lead to addiction.

  1. According to some surveys from 2020, Americans are spending as much as 17 hours per day looking at a screen, and a good portion of this time is spent on social media.
  2. Social media addiction is an increasing problem that is common among adolescents and young people.
  3. 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.

This way, social media can be something that enhances your quality of life, instead of diminishing it. Also, social media giants like Facebook, Tiktok, Twitter, and youtube pour billions of dollars into advertising and hire engineers that are paid to make content more addictive. These sites also track your activity, customizing your feed to show you posts you are most likely to look at, watch, or comment on. This all makes social media more addictive in nature and makes it harder for the average person to disconnect. The popularity of social media platforms has intensified over the past decade.

How do you know if you have social media addiction?

They count on users continuing to come back for more to get those hits of dopamine. When your teen or child exhibits symptoms of social media addiction, there may be legal options you can take. Reach out to one of our social media addiction attorneys today for an evaluation of your case.

Social media is increasingly omnipresent today, but this doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop an addiction to it. While social media can seem like mindless and relaxing fun, it actually has a significant effect on your brain. You nor your loved one are under any obligation to commit to an Ark Behavioral Health treatment program when calling our helpline. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact at Substance abuse affects millions of people, including teenagers, in the United States.

More on behavioral addictions

Dopamine Nation explains how living in a modern society, affluent beyond comparison by evolutionary standards, has rendered us all vulnerable to dopamine-mediated addiction. Today, the addictive substance of choice, whether we realize it or not, is often the internet and social media channels, according to Lembke, MD. When you call our helpline, you’ll be connected with a representative who can assist you in finding mental health and addiction treatment resources at any of the Ark Behavioral Health addiction treatment facilities. People who compulsively use social media may experience a number of consequences to their daily life, including effects on work, academic achievement, social life, and health. Through limited research, experts have identified a number of signs and symptoms of social media overuse that could resemble an addiction. Addiction is a condition that can be debilitating, harmful to health, and disruptive to a person’s daily life.

what is social media addiction

While social media platforms have their benefits, using them too frequently can make people feel increasingly unhappy and isolated. These negative emotional reactions are not only produced due to the social pressure of sharing things with others but also the comparison of material things and lifestyles that these sites promote. This is observable in social media usage; when an individual gets a notification, such as a like or mention, the brain receives a rush of dopamine and sends it along reward pathways, causing the individual to feel pleasure. Social media provides an endless amount of immediate rewards in the form of attention from others for relatively minimal effort. The brain rewires itself through this positive reinforcement, making people desire likes, retweets, and emoticon reactions.

Interface features are often designed to that end, for example, using colors and shapes designed to entice the user or to make it difficult to exit. If you notice some of the signs of social media addiction, work on trying to set some clear limits around how much or how often you log in, and how much time you spend on these platforms. Keep in mind these platforms are designed to get and hold your attention, so work on taking control of your usage instead of letting these sites control you.

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Both introverts and extroverts can become addicted – the former because they’re feeling isolated and seeking connection, and the latter because they generally have more social connections and stay active online. While it is possible to try to limit social media use without medical intervention, in some cases, professional help may be necessary. Additionally, a recent study of adolescents found that higher levels of social media use had links to visits to the doctor. Social media addiction can cause psychological and physical symptoms. Social media platforms ignite the same reaction in the brain as gambling and recreational drugs do.

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. I wanted to tell readers what I’d learned from patients and from neuroscience about how to tackle compulsive overconsumption. Feel-good substances and behaviors increase dopamine release in the brain’s reward pathways. Edmund has an extensive background in addiction research and medical writing, working collaboratively with doctors, substance use disorder specialists, and clinical experts across all content on Recovered. When you experience more dopamine after using social media, your brain identifies this activity as a rewarding one that you ought to repeat.

Many of us still use social media to connect, share content like videos and memes, read the news, or just kill time. Some people even make successful careers out of social media, such as influencers. Platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are more popular amongst teens and young adults whereas Facebook is generally used by all ages. The positive feelings experienced during social media use are only temporary. The way your brain engages in this positive reinforcement is also seen in other addictions.

One of the hallmark signs of addiction is continuing to use something even after it has clearly had negative impacts on your physical or mental health, relationships, work, or other vital areas of life. More and more people are reporting that heavy social media use negatively impacts their relationships and self-esteem and makes them less productive at work or school, which is a red flag that may indicate addiction. 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.

Adults are susceptible, he noted, but young people are particularly at risk, because the brain regions that are involved in resisting temptation and reward are not nearly as developed in children and teenagers as in adults. “They’re all about impulse and not a lot about the control of that impulse,” Dr. Greenfield said of young consumers. Recovered is not a medical, healthcare or therapeutic services provider and no medical, psychiatric, psychological or physical treatment or advice is being provided by Recovered.