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Is It Possible to Become Addicted to Social Media?

There is no actual diagnosis for “social media addiction“; however, it appears that excessive social media use is a common problem, and the effect on the brain is real. The effects on the brain can be positive and negative, just like substance use disorder (SUD). Social media can feel like a mindless and benign way to spend time, but it can quickly become a problem for you, no matter your age group.

How Does Social Media Effect the Brain?

Using social media elicits positive feelings. The positive feelings increase when you make a post and receive great feedback from people. When you log into your favorite app, neurotransmitters cause your brain to create dopamine, creating feelings of pleasure. Over time, your brain learns that this activity will make you feel good.

The more you interact with social media, the more your brain signals that this experience is rewarding. Although, there is a downside to social media because it can also elicit negative feelings. These negative feelings come from how you perceive what you see on social media. It can appear that others are doing better than you, and this thought pattern contributes to low self-esteem.

Social media can cause isolation because you might avoid actual in-person social activities in order to be on your device. Being on devices for such a long time creates issues with insomnia and a social anxiety disorder. When you only interact through a screen, you may lose empathy and compassion.

How Much Is Too?

Simply put, you may overuse social media because it feels good, and because of that, the brain redirects thinking towards what will make you happy. There are several key things to look for in your social media usage to determine whether you are spending too much time on devices.

  • Social media is affecting your job or school performance
  • You cannot put your device down while you are interacting with people you know
  • You use social media as a way to cope with life
  • If you try to cut back, you become uncomfortable, angry, and uneasy
  • When you are not on social media, you fear missing out, so it is always on your mind

How Can You Stop or Cut Back on Social Media Use?

  • Spend time with people you know and love
  • Only have social media on your desktop and not on any other device so that it is not readily accessible
  • Do not allow any devices in your bedroom
  • Set a timer anytime you are on social media
  • Install an app on your phone which keeps track of time spent on social media apps and screentime
  • Find new real-life hobbies and activities and spend real time doing them

At The Guest House, we understand that social media is a double-edged sword. It activates feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain while at the same time causing negative consequences to happen. The cause and effect are similar to the same thing that happens in substance use disorders (SUD). We offer conventional and holistic resources to help you or your loved one develop healthier activities to resist the urge to use social media too much. If you or a loved one cannot control social media use, then get help today by calling, (855) 483-7800