Describing someone as an addict means they exhibit a compulsive behavior that carries negative effects. Social media addiction is not officially recognized as a disease or disorder. However, many studies focus on parallels between people who display addictive behavior in their usage and drug, alcohol, or gambling addicts.
Behaviors and Effects of Social Media Addiction
One of the benefits of social media is how it makes people feel connected to others, but there are also cases where constant connection through technology causes feelings of isolation in the real world. Some might develop further dependence on social media as a result. Other signs of social media addiction might include, but aren’t restricted to, constantly checking Twitter feeds, intensely following someone’s social media profile—commonly called “stalking”—or spending hours on end posting and responding to comments.
A stronger sign of addiction is engagement with social media when doing so is dangerous, like while driving. At other times, like during a meeting or while at the movies, the behavior might be merely annoying to others, but it may indicate a problem.
“Am I Addicted to Social Media?”
If you’re wondering whether you’re addicted, ask yourself:
• Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media?
• Have you felt increasingly strong and more frequent urges to use social media?
• Do you get restless or bothered when unable to use social media?
• Have you tried, unsuccessfully, to reduce your use of social media?
• Do you use social media so much that it has negatively affected your work or studies?
Answering “yes” to only one or some of these questions doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted. But if you did to most or all of them, you should seriously consider whether an addiction exists.
What Can You Do?
If you want to cut down on your social media usage, small changes can go a long way. Turning off alert tones can reduce the urge to react immediately to them. You could also commit to allowing yourself to check or make yourself stay away at specific times, like during meals or while out with friends.
The most successful kind of treatment for stronger addiction seems to be cognitive behavioral therapy. However, as with many officially recognized diseases and disorders, there is no “quick fix” for addiction. Each person is responsible for their own actions, and sometimes help from a professional can give them the edge they need in overcoming addiction.