Social media is just as addictive as gambling, drugs, and alcohol. What seems like harmless social interaction is actually a growing problem that can lead to depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and much more. No matter how old you are or what background you have, you could find yourself addicted to social media. Let’s take a closer look at how social media addiction forms and what you can do to fix it.
Your Brain LOVES Social Media Notifications
Whenever you see a notification on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites, your brain releases a small amount of dopamine. This makes you feel better on a chemical level. Each time you see a text on your phone or a comment notification, your brain gets excited – similar to what your pet experiences when he or she hears a treat bag open up. This is what triggers the addiction and why it is so easy to fall into.
Social Media Gives You A Sense Of Self-Worth
When you see someone liking your picture or replying to a comment you made, you naturally feel better about yourself. In theory, this makes you feel like you have a greater sense of self-worth. Note the term “theory.” What is actually happening is that you’re relying on your phone and computer for social interaction instead of engaging with your peers in person. At the end of the day, you may feel like you have no friends at all because the only time you interact with them is online. This will lower your self-esteem instead of raising it.
How To Fix Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction is a legitimate addiction. If you quit cold turkey, you may find yourself going through withdrawals. This sparks depression, which makes you want to get back on social media – and the cycle continues from there. You don’t have to eliminate Facebook from your life to control your addiction. You just have to learn how to use it in moderation. Here are some quick tips to try:
- Limit the times in the day when you check your social media accounts (only after work, at least an hour before bed, etc.)
- Talk to people on the phone instead of texting or using private messages
- Avoid social media entirely when you’re out with friends or family members. You can share that picture when you get home.
- Encourage your friends to “unplug” themselves when you go out together so you can truly enjoy your time with one another
- Work with a professional addiction counseling if you are struggling to overcome your addiction