Social Media Addiction: A Brilliant Guide for You

Getting addicted to something is harmful. Social media addiction, 1the term itself, is self-explanatory, but not everyone knows or realizes how serious it is.

Social media addiction has its consequences, but it is not as severe as drugs and smoking addiction2 as they can cause serious damage to you and your lifestyle.

1. Symptoms Of Social Media Addiction

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Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Everyone uses social media, and it allows everyone an opportunity to sit back and relax, socialize with friends, and entertain themselves with images and videos.

There can be times when you will not know that you are suffering from social media addiction as it will take over your lifestyle and become the new normal. Over usage of social media can affect your mental health as well as your lifestyle.

Symptoms of social media addiction3 include:

1.1. Negative Effect in

1.1.1. Professional Life

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Using social media for leisure is not a problem, but those addicted to it can suffer from the negative impact it causes on their school, college, and work life.

Instead of focusing on their career or living their lives, people with social media addiction spend most of their time surfing online. They do not have adequate time to do other things like studying or completing a work project.

1.1.2.  Personal Life

If you are spending less time with your family and friends and instead of using that time on social media, introspection is required. Using social media has become a habit that often we ignore the people around us.

The virtual world takes over reality, which can become bothersome over some time. Some people socialize on social media, which is not a problem until it affects their real-life relationships.

1.2. Increased Reliance

Getting addicted to social media makes you feel disconnected from the real world. As a result, when things go wrong, people are starting to share their problems on social media instead of looking for a solution.

Sharing problems on social media can make you vulnerable as not all the people on the platform will think about your benefit.

Sometimes, people addicted to social media tend to ignore their problems and use social media as a distraction. Using social media as a distraction but ignoring your problems is probably not the best option.

1.3. Feeling Anxious

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Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

You might not notice it but feeling irritated and getting frustrated at small things is a serious sign that indicates social media addiction.

Restlessness when not using social media and the constant urge to pick up your phone and check what is happening on the social platform can become overwhelming and self-consuming if ignored.

Many people feel comfortable expressing their emotions on a social platform where they think strangers will not judge them, and soon they suffer from social anxiety.

Social anxiety is the fear of representing and expressing yourself in a crowd or in social situations4. Social media addiction can worsen the condition of people suffering from social anxiety.

1.4. Consuming Thoughts

Thinking about social media when not using it and getting irritable and frustrated is not good. The thought like when will I be able to use it when doing some other important work is probably the first sign of social media addiction.

If you cannot use it, the aggravation you feel can sometimes overwhelm you, which is not good for your mental health.

The thoughts of using social media will consume you, and you will be distracted in real life, and your concentration power also decreases.

2. Effects Of Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction causes many negative effects on people, some of which are mentioned below:

  • Anxiety and Depression
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Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

Social media addiction is related to behavioral patterns, and over-usage of social media directly or indirectly leads to anxiety and depression.

It is seen that social media addiction plays a major contributing role in developing social anxiety.

  • Low Self-Esteem

Looking at other’s people feed, seeing how much others are enjoying their life, and feeling sad about it makes you feel small, and you develop low self-esteem.5

No one has it easy; it is just the thoughts that consume your mind that make you believe so.

  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
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Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Fear of missing out, FOMO, and feeling left out from what is happening around you is the worst feeling. Social media does the work of amplifying the feeling.

If you fear that you are left out and are not up-to-date with everything, this leads to more social media usage.

  • Difficulty in Sleeping
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Image by Hieu Van from Pixabay

Everyone is aware that using mobile phones before bedtime is unhealthy. Having social media addiction, where you cannot find it yourself to stop using the phone, will surely result in disruptive sleep patterns.6

  • Impact on Professional Life

When most of your time is consumed by social media, your grade or work performances are likely to deteriorate. Getting a bad grade or low performance at work will make you feel vulnerable and have a very bad effect on your mental health.

  • Decrease in Physical Activity
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Image by Angelica Barbieri from Pixabay

Doing exercises or any physical activity is very important for a better lifestyle. Social media addiction snatches that opportunity as most of your time is spent staring at a screen.

This harms not only your physical health but takes a toll on your mental health too.

  • Feeling of Isolation
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Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Social media has the power of making you feel that no one is there for you in the real world. That is not true, as most of the time, there are people around you with whom you can share your feelings instead of on the social media platform.

But for that to happen, you would need to look around yourself and spend more time with your loved ones.

3. Treatment of Social Media Addiction

If you feel that you have a social media addiction or are on the verge of developing the same, try the next few tips mentioned to ensure less social media usage.

  • Set A Timer
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Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

The first step is to ensure the usage of social media by setting a timer. Start with cutting off slowly and gradually decrease the time.

Many applications allow you to set a time limit on using the applications and alert you when you reach your time limit.

  • Adopt A New Way

Honestly, when we see others living a life that we have dreamt of, it does not feel good. But always ask yourself, is it necessary to compare your life with theirs? No, it is not.

It is not easy to ignore other people’s feeds, but trying to use social media in a new way is what you can do.

Reach out to your friends with whom you had lost contact or a family member. Social media has a positive and negative use, and it is entirely in your hand how you make use of it.

  • Distract Yourself
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Photo by Julius on Unsplash

Once you are addicted to something, it is not easy to get rid of it. The only way is by trying and distracting yourself so that you will forget about it. Getting a hobby or refurbishing an old hobby is the best way.

Keep in mind the hobby does not include the usage of any technology. It is better to do sports like swimming, and horse riding as a way to distract.

Painting, reading books, singing, dancing, whatever you like to do can be used as a means to distract yourself. It will not only help with social media addiction, but it will also allow you to have time time to work on yourself.

Keeping a journal can also be a great option as most people vent their feelings on social media. They can write about them in their journals.

  • Reduce The Dependency

Even if you are doing your research related to your school or work, you are bound to get the urge to open social media for some minutes. Those minutes eventually turn into hours without you even noticing it.

Try minimizing using the device that holds your social media. Instead, use the one without it so that your focus is not lost easily. The news of what is happening around us is on social media and it looks like the best option.

But if you want to reduce your usage, try looking for other means, like newspapers.

  • Take A Break
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Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Taking a break from work or school is usual, but taking a break from social media is equally important.

We get so used up in using social media to neglect our relations with real-life friends and family. Making friends on social media is in no way wrong but getting cooped up on the platform makes you believe that your online friends are the only ones there for you.

Spend time with your real-life friends and family in person as it will help you relax, and you will not feel the need to turn to social media for some time.

  • Get Profesional Help

For some people, the steps mentioned above can produce no improvement results as they would have gone very deep into the addiction.

Getting professional help will surely make the condition better for anyone suffering from social media addiction. Treatment facilities provide many different ways of overcoming addiction.

4. Conclusion

Social media addiction refers to the excessive and compulsive use of social media platforms, leading to negative impacts on a person’s physical and mental well-being, as well as their overall daily life and relationships. It is a growing concern in modern society, as social media platforms have become an integral part of our daily lives, offering instant gratification, social validation, and a constant stream of information and entertainment.

Social media addiction is not a very harmful addiction, but it can become dangerous if not managed properly over some time. Social media is a part of our life, do not make it your entire life, and you will have no problem at all.

Several factors contribute to the development of social media addiction, such as the addictive design of social media platforms, fear of missing out (FOMO), and instant gratification provided by likes and comments. Additionally, underlying psychological factors like anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem can also make individuals more susceptible to developing social media addiction.

Addressing social media addiction typically involves self-awareness and self-regulation.

FAQs

1. Is social media addiction a recognized medical condition?

A. As of my last update in September 2021, social media addiction is not officially recognized as a medical condition in major diagnostic manuals like the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases). However, it is widely studied as a behavioral addiction, and research on its impact continues to grow.

2. Can social media addiction be treated?

A. Yes, social media addiction can be treated. Treatment approaches may include self-help strategies, setting boundaries, seeking support from friends and family, counseling, and in severe cases, professional therapy or addiction support groups.

3. Can social media platforms themselves contribute to addiction?

A: Yes, social media platforms are designed to be engaging and addictive, often using algorithms to keep users hooked by providing personalized and attention-grabbing content. Features like infinite scrolling, auto-playing videos, and push notifications can contribute to addictive behaviors.

Read more

  1. Sun, Yalin, and Yan Zhang. “A review of theories and models applied in studies of social media addiction and implications for future research.” Addictive behaviors 114 (2021): 106699. ↩︎
  2. Cohen, Caroline, Wallace B. Pickworth, and Jack E. Henningfield. “Cigarette smoking and addiction.” Clinics in chest medicine 12.4 (1991): 701-710. ↩︎
  3. Leung, Louis. “Predicting Internet risks: a longitudinal panel study of gratifications-sought, Internet addiction symptoms, and social media use among children and adolescents.” Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine: An Open Access Journal 2.1 (2014): 424-439. ↩︎
  4. Argyle, Michael, Adrian Furnham, and Jean Ann Graham. Social situations. Cambridge University Press, 1981. ↩︎
  5. Fennell, Melanie JV. “Low self-esteem.” Encyclopedia of cognitive behavior therapy (2005): 236-240. ↩︎
  6. Mindell, Jodi A., Rae Ann Cook, and Janeta Nikolovski. “Sleep patterns and sleep disturbances across pregnancy.” Sleep medicine 16.4 (2015): 483-488. ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf

Author

Apeksha soni
  1. Social media has a significant impact on our lives. If it has positive sides, the negative ones also cannot be ignored. Therefore it is important to weigh both sides and then take a decision accordingly. The whole article especially the steps mentioned in the article to overcome social media addiction are helpful.

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