Technology addiction, internet addiction, and social media addiction are all signs of the modern connected times we live in. Unlike drug and alcohol addiction, the use of social media directly does not pose a fatal threat to life. HOwever getting lost in a compulsive relationship with social media can have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. In extreme cases, social media use can even cause symptoms of withdrawal, create mental health issues, and lead to physical health issues. If you are afraid you might be “addicted” to social media or that it is causing a problem in your life, look to these questions to gauge.
Can you remember the last time you went a day without social media?
Checking social media platforms every day is commonplace. The normalization of social media use makes it seem like a practical situation when you check social media every day. The real question isn’t whether or not you check social media every day but whether or not you can go a day without checking social media. Many people become so used to checking their social media every day that they don’t realize how many days have gone by without checking social media. If you can’t remember the last time you don’t check a single platform, even once, you might need to take a break from social media and reassess your relationship to it.
Do you feel as satisfied with social media use as you have in the past?
Social media “addiction” can act like a process addiction in which you do develop a tolerance to your engagement with social media. As a result, you need more kinds of interactions, for greater lengths of time, or other factors to make your social media use as engaging as it has been in the past. This is an indication that the dopamine system in your brain has started to become associated with social media use. You might find yourself posting five times a day rather than just one or none.
When you’re feeling bored, lonely, angry, depressed, or stressed, do you turn to social media?
Turning to any external substance or process to deal with an internal feeling, or many internal feelings, is a sign of dependence or “addiction”. Social media causes many of the same reactions in the brain that stimulant drugs like cocaine do. Turning to social media to cope with negative feelings will lead to an inability to cope with feelings at all, especially without the use of social media.
Have you taken efforts to get “off” social media and have not been able to do so?
The final indicator that someone has an addiction which has become a problem is that they try to stop and cannot succeed in doing so. If you are aware that your compulsive social media use is a problem and that it needs to be addressed, but you cannot stay off of social media, you are in need of help. Take a break from social media, work with a counselor to tackle this short term problem, and get proactive about texting or calling friends more often.
Design For Change has partial care programs for students in the local college area who are in need of help with addiction and/or alcohol issues as well as gaining the practical tools they need for managing their lives. For more information, call us today at (877) 267-3646.