Social Media Addiction: Symptoms, Causes, Effects, And More

The addiction to social networks is a phrase sometimes used to refer to someone who spends too much time using Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media, both interfering with other aspects of daily life. There is no official medical recognition as a disease or disorder, however, the set of behaviors associated with excessive or excessive use of social networks has become the subject of much discussion and research.

The use of different social media sites has become the cornerstone of modern communication and connection, allowing users to create a sense of belonging and redefine their way of being, despite the many benefits and positive impacts of these sites.

What is social media addiction?

It is not a formal clinical diagnosis, it is fair to say that many people spend too much time on social networks and that they can not only be described as “obsessed”, but addicted. As a result, it affects the daily life of the person, although there is no official medical examination of social media addiction as a disease, the negative habit of excessive use has become a subject of much discussion and research.

The addiction simply means a compulsive behavior that leads to negative effects and in this case, refers to someone who has a compulsive use of social networks. For example, people who constantly check for updates on Facebook or harass other people for hours.

It’s hard to tell if someone is a social media addict, if you spend a few hours checking updates and randomly reading tweets, does that make you addicted? Some people claimed that they spend time on social media to read the news and find entertainment to kill time and are not addicted to it, so how can we tell if someone is addicted?

At Harvard University, researchers have done an MRI on people’s brains to see what happened when they talk about themselves, which is an essential part of what most people do on social media. The result showed that self-disclosure communication creates pleasure in the brain, in conclusion, it makes people feel happy and uplifted when they talk and think about themselves.

There is no direct conclusion to determine if someone is a social media addict, but many doctors have observed similar symptoms, such as depression, anxiety , psychological disorders , and more are proof of social media addiction.

Signs and symptoms of social media addiction

While there are no clear signs of knowing if someone is a social media addict from an official medical point of view, there are many signs and symptoms that clearly identify whether you are addicted to social media.

Some of the signs and symptoms are clear and precise, while others are more difficult to identify and require effort to reveal. If you want to know if you are addicted to social networks, observe how you live your life and how you spend your time, since it can be considered a common disorder and the signs can be identified from what is done each day.

Below are the common signs of a social media addict, if you repeat most of these below:

It’s the first thing you do in the morning.

What is the first thing you do once you get up in the morning? If your answer is to check Facebook or update your status on any platform, it is a clear sign that you are addicted to social networks. Almost all addicts will start their day with a morning routine of checking and useless scrolling through what they have missed on social media after long hours of night’s sleep.

Most feel like they have wasted a lot of time and are out of date, therefore they want to check the status and see who has posted something new.

You waste your time looking at nonsense

One thing that makes people less productive and achieve less in life is procrastination and social media is a great cause and also the motivator for procrastination.

People can spend hours reading without interest reading news and updates that have no meaning, they can be a form of entertainment, but in reality, most of the things shared through social networks will not do your life any good.

For example, some people scroll through videos of funny cats, while others “stalk” others and still others slide photos of their ex-girlfriends from years ago, most of these activities are wastes of time and do not add any value to your life.

Post everywhere.

Have you ever seen a friend who wants to take photos of every meal they eat and share it on social media or try to verify the location? Or maybe you are doing the same?

Well, it is understood that you do it occasionally when on vacation, but if you do it too often and in almost all places, you may want to seriously consider your own behavior.

Many people, especially young people, will take out their smartphone to take a photo of their food, post it on social media and check the location before eating, this can annoy those who are at the same table or people who have less privilege to enjoy the food.

Check notifications all the time.

Notification verification can be a normal thing when the phone rings, however if you check it all the time regardless of whether your phone vibrates you may be seriously addicted.

People check their phone because they get notifications, and most of the time it’s from social media, which means saying that these notifications aren’t really that important in your life. Some chronic social media addicts will even have imaginary notifications in their head, they imagined that their phone vibrates or receives a notification so they want to check every minute, this can be a serious problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.

You just want to contact and talk with your friends through social networks.

This is another sign that you are a social media addict and the disorder is slowly developing in your life, long gone are the days of phone calls and text messages.

With the introduction of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, people can choose to contact you using those platforms and avoid actual physical contact. If you choose to use social media as the only means to contact and talk with other people, the sign is clear that you are an addict.

Desire for internet connection.

The existence of the Internet is not the problem, the real culprit is that with Internet access, people can easily connect to social networks and when there is no connection available, addicts will feel stressed and restless.

The social media addict cannot live a life without internet, even for a few hours, they will feel anxious.

Other symptoms

In addition to the clear signs of how you spend and use your time, there are also mental symptoms that can be identified in a social media addict.

Experience less satisfaction and therefore less happiness

A study has found that social media users tend to have less happiness and satisfaction in life. The reason is that Facebook evokes a perception of social isolation, try to imagine that you spend most of your time in front of the screen, either from your computer or from your smartphone, you do not engage in any physical interaction with other people, ¿¿ how would you feel?

Lack of face-to-face connection will make people feel lonely and less happy, while social media provides the convenience of connecting with others, the need for physical and face-to-face interaction with other humans cannot be set aside. .

The more time people spend on social media, the more isolated they will be socially and this can cause you to experience less happiness and less satisfaction.

May promote jealousy or envy

People love to compare with each other, especially on social media. Studies have found that most people admit that watching other people travel and have a great vacation or showing off material possessions is inductive of envy.

This can make them the ground for insidious feelings, the feeling of jealousy can make a person want to make their own life look better, and post their own jealousy- inducing messages . Apart from that, it can also trigger depression .

Increases your anxiety level and affects your general well-being

People who are addicted to social media will never sit still when they are free, they will take out their smartphone or check their computer updates regularly and if they do not have access they will feel anxious and worried, this is because addicts depend on it. Too much of social media to kill time, have entertainment or to satisfy their own cravings for negative behavior and every time they stop using it, they tend to feel anxious.

In addition, studies have also shown that there are other negative effects that will affect the general well-being of the person who cannot get rid of social networks.

What Causes Social Media Addiction?

Like gambling, alcohol, and drugs , social media addiction seems harmless, but it’s a growing problem that needs to be addressed because the high it produces can lead to depression, anxiety, and more.

Every time you receive notifications like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, your brain will release a small amount of dopamine, this makes you feel good on a chemical level, every time you see a notification, your brain gets excited and in the long run, this will form a habit and will indulge in addictive behavior. Also, every time you see someone “like” or “share” what they have posted, it feels good and theoretically, according to experts, your sense of self – worth will increase.

What really happens is that you rely on your smartphone and computer for social interaction rather than engaging in face-to-face interaction. At the end of the day, you will feel isolated because your interactions are online and not in the physical world, this will lower your self-esteem.

It is the “reward” the most important neurological reason responsible for the compulsive use of the social network, when the brain creates dopamine, it also creates the desire for the person to seek and want more rewards from the use of social networks.

How does it affect your life?

Social media has grown and become a huge part of our daily life these days, people just can’t ignore the power of media today, even large companies are using the power of social media to create your marketing channel to influence your audience.

The problem is that without control, they can overcome and control your life instead of you controlling them. Most people underestimate how they can influence and affect their lives until it is too late to notice the effect and change.

Cyber ​​bullying

People can say what they want and keep walking away on the internet, this has led to cyberbullying, where people use electronic communication to send messages in an intimidating or threatening way.

Cyberbullying can be a serious problem in which the victim may experience a great deal of stress leading to a decline in mental health. There are also cases where cyberbullying has led to suicide and has caused death.

Distraction and drop in productivity.

Do you know that social networks are a great distraction and interrupt your life on all levels? Try to imagine that you are writing an important article and suddenly someone gives you a rumor on Facebook, you will lose your flow and this will distract your attention.

Many studies have found that the more people involved in social media, the less the person can focus on their work, leading to decreased productivity and increased procrastination.

Also, if you spend your most productive hours on social media, you will spend most of your willpower and energy there, making it less likely that you will have the motivation and energy to work on a more important job when the time is right. to work. So, spend your time and use social media responsibility, it can decrease your performance and decrease your creativity.

Fatigue and stress

What do you think would happen if you stare at your computer screen or cell phone for an extended period? You will feel tired and stressed, also when you are checking social networks, you are constantly changing from one task to another because there are many things to review and see, this information overload will drain your brain capacity and make you feel fatigued.

Every time your brain thinks, you use your willpower, energy, and when you spend most of your time on social media, you are spending your energy there. Instead of using your downtime to rest, you use it to check for updates, as a result your brain uses energy to process information and stresses you out.

Other related health problem

In addition to everything mentioned, there will be other related health problems such as blurred vision due to tired eyes as a result of long hours staring at the screen and if you are using social media from a cell phone, you may suffer from pain problems from back and neck as you constantly have to bend over to look at your phone.

The syndrome carpal tunnel is a medical condition due to compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist in the carpal tunnel, this is due to long hours of repeating the same movement with his hands and arms, especially when use your phone or face the computer for a long period of time.

Experts have also found that people who are faced with computer screens and their phones for long hours can cause headaches at times.

Also, if checking social media is the first and last thing you did before bed, this routine will disturb your sleep and cause you to suffer side effects from lack of sleep.

How to treat addiction to social networks?

If you think you spend too much time on social media or maybe you are addicted to it, don’t worry because there are ways to get rid of bad behavior. Like all other illnesses and problems, there are cures and solutions for social media addiction, the key is to be committed to following some of the steps suggested below and making social media a tool that you can control rather than stop. control your life.

Here are some helpful suggestions:

Get rid of notifications

One of the key factors that people are getting addicted to social media is that they get distracted by notifications, in fact notifications can act as a reminder for users to check their phones or computers. Therefore, the most effective way to solve this is to turn off notifications.

If social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter are unable to notify you of any updates, there is a higher chance that you will not check them, it is a great first step in getting rid of social media addiction.

Also, if you are always distracted by notifications, you cannot focus well on your tasks, it can cause negative feelings such as stress and anger.

Limit your time spent on social media

Besides turning off notifications, another thing you can do is limit the time you spend on social media. For example, choose to spend only 15 minutes a day on them, you can check Facebook every day, but make sure you only use a minimum time or only a certain time of day.

You can set a rule like “no social media in the office” and never commit to it. This way you can focus on your work and improve your productivity, you will only use social media and check for updates outside of your office when you go out for lunch or during downtime. This technique can work extremely well if you stick to the rule and deliver on its promise.

Delete the apps

Another of the key people who are addicted to social networks is its convenience to access those platforms, all you need to do is swipe your phone and you can check the updates on Facebook, post something on Twitter and upload a photo on Instagram.

There is no doubt that technology has brought convenience into our lives, perhaps too convenient until we surrender and get lost in the world of online communication. If all else fails, delete the app and yes, you read that right, just delete the app so there is no way to check for updates or get notifications from the comfort of your smartphone.

Once you have removed the application, the only way to use social networks is through your computer, which will be less convenient, this will directly lower your desire to want to use them. It can be an effective way to seriously get rid of social media and it can work as the ultimate addiction solution.

Keep busy

Replace your usual free time that you used on social media for other things. For example, go for sports. What are your hobbies? Do you love to read? Do you want to play the piano? Do you love to run? Do you want to go swimming or do you like fishing?

Get busy so you don’t have free time to check social media, when your time is completely busy or when you are too focused on something else, you never want to check what’s going on on Facebook or receive Twitter updates.

Limit your time spent on social media through apps

This is another effective way to limit the use of time on social networks, there are many applications that you can use to restrict the time you spend on a social network.

Unplug and unplug

This method is like deleting the apps, but instead of deleting them, you choose to disconnect from the internet or simply turn off your phone to disconnect it.

When you have no way to access the internet, you will never have the opportunity to use social media. In fact, the most successful and productive people will log off at night, preferring to spend quality time with their lovers than casually scrolling on Facebook for updates.

A social media addict will never move forward in life because they waste too much time on unnecessary things. In other words, they are not productive. Therefore, when you reflect on your life each week, you will understand where you are and what area needs improvement.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.