What is Social Media Addiction?
Sharing what is going on in your life through social media is now common practice. Unfortunately, there are times when people can get so wrapped up in social media that it takes over their lives. Social Media Addiction is an addiction that isn’t widely recognized yet because it is so new. People don’t realize that they are using their social media accounts so frequently because it is such a mindless interaction. Scrolling for hours on end can happen very easily.
Cyber addiction can come in many different forms. Because people are interacting with others through their social media, they often don’t view it as being addicted to social media. Is social networking addictive? Social media is still relatively new and studies linking addiction to social media are few and far between. This can make it difficult for someone to be diagnosed with a social media addiction. Many people do not know that there are treatment options available to help treat social media addiction. The few studies that have been done show that addiction to social media can serve as a mental health problem. It could lead to other mental health issues later on down the road.
What Are the Symptoms of Social Media Addiction?
In order to determine if someone needs to get help for social media addiction, it’s important to know how to identify if addiction is occurring. The following symptoms may indicate that you or someone you love has a social media addiction.
- Disconnection from face-to-face relationships – Someone who is preoccupied with social media networks may have a difficult time building and maintaining face-to-face relationships. They are so worried about keeping up with what is happening virtually that they cannot focus on real life occurrences. This can cause them to have more online relationships than they have in their everyday life.
- Obsession with other people’s social media accounts – Many people make the mistake of thinking that social media addiction only occurs when someone focus on their personal accounts. This isn’t the case, though. It’s common for someone with a cyber addiction to focus on other people’s accounts, too.
- Fear of missing out – Internet addiction can make people fearful that they will miss out on something important. They fear that they will be out of the loop if they miss a post or tweet. If someone sees something before them, they view it as the person somehow being more important than them. Many people with an internet addiction will set alerts to ensure they’re notified every time a new post is uploaded.
- Inability to find value in self – When someone has a social media addiction, they will often rely on others for validation. They will need to post pictures of what they are wearing, eating, or doing to get some form of validation. If they don’t get the validation they seek, it can make them feel depressed, worthless or sad.
- Easily become anxiety stricken – if someone has to go without access to their social media accounts, it can cause someone with an addiction to have anxiety. They will obsess over being able to get back onto their accounts. If their phone battery dies, they will search for a way to charge their phone as quickly as possible. If they don’t have internet access, they will search for WIFI or walk around searching for reception.
- Feeling of abandonment – When someone stops following someone with a social media addiction on one of their accounts, it can make them feel abandoned. Some people feel as though they did something wrong. They automatically assume that the person is mad at them or become angry themselves. They view having followers as being crucial to their way of life.
What Is Social Media Addiction Withdrawal?
Social media addiction withdrawal occurs when someone no longer has access to the social media accounts that they once did. This can be for a temporary period of time or for longer periods. Many people who go through social media addiction withdrawal go through a whirlwind of emotions. They experience withdrawal symptoms that can sometimes mimic symptoms that a drug addict goes through when they withdraw from drugs. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety – When someone cannot access their accounts, they feel lost, hopeless and overwhelmed. They do not have their social media to distract them from day to day life. This means that they’ll have to face the world around them, which can be very difficult for them to do.
- Isolated – If the person has relied on social media for their relationships, they can feel very alone when they are taken away. They feel as though they have no one to turn to and everyone they trusted are gone. It can be hard for them to build relationships with others because they haven’t had to have face-to-face conversations in a long time.
- Self-conscious – Someone who seeks validation through their social media accounts can feel very self-conscious when they stop using them. They do not have people constantly telling them how wonderful they or their choices are. This means that they have to rely on their own decision-making skills. They have to learn to feel good about themselves on their own.
- Depression – Not being able to talk to the people that they talked to every day can lead to depression. When people feel alone and isolated from the world, they tend to become sad. They can feel as though everything is horrible in their life.
- Headaches – After staring at a screen for hours on end, the person’s eyes and brain may have become accustomed to the light that the device gave off. When they stop staring at a screen, it is an adjustment for their eyes and their brain. Focusing on the world around them can be a lot for them to take in and could lead to them developing headaches.
- Weight changes – When people quit using social media constantly, they often notice changes in their weight. People who snacked mindlessly while they scrolled through social media may lose weight. This is because they may snack less and become more active. People who skipped meals because they were so consumed with social media may gain weight. This is because they won’t have as many distractions and may be able to eat more regularly.
What Are the Consequences of Social Media Addiction?
Unfortunately, there are some major consequences that come with social media addiction. There are many people who base their self-worth off of feedback they get on social media. This can lead to someone devaluing themselves and ending up in an unhealthy relationship. Social media addiction can also cause someone to become obsessed with having things that other people have. They may spend their money irresponsibly or start stealing in an effort to keep up with everyone else.
There are also times when social media can lead people to doing drugs or drinking excessively. This is because they want to seem interesting to people on their social media. They don’t realize that they are putting themselves in danger and that many of the people in their accounts don’t truly care about them.
Some people who are addicted to social media also make the mistake of thinking that they can trust everyone that is on their accounts. There have been cases where people have gone to meet someone, they met online and ended up being injured or even killed. It can be hard to decipher who your true friends are when you only meet people off of the internet and not in person.
How Is Social Media Addiction Treated?
If you or someone you love knows that you have social media addiction, there is help available. You can choose to go to an outpatient treatment program to learn how to reduce your social media use or even quit using it altogether. In this day and age, it can be very difficult to be able to stay off of social media altogether. Many people use it for their work and to keep in touch with distant relatives. Learning how to use it responsibly and in a reasonable fashion is crucial.
If you feel that you cannot quit using social media on your own, residential treatment may be an option to consider. You will be able to be removed from all temptation to use social media. You will be able to get help with professional counselors to learn why you developed the addiction and what steps you can take to prevent a relapse in the future. Through counseling you will be able to learn how to value yourself and ensure that you don’t have to rely on others. You can also learn how to return to your everyday life when you have so much social media temptation around you.
Many people who have a social media addiction also have other mental health issues that may need to be addressed. This is where partial hospitalization is often a good option. Not only can get the treatment that you need for your social media addiction, but you can also get help for any other issues that may or may not have been diagnosed. Being able to treat all of your mental health conditions will better your chances of being able to avoid becoming too addicted to something else in the future. You have to be willing and ready to make changes in your life in order for the changes to stick though.