How To Determine If You Have A Social Media Addiction
Addiction is a tricky illness, especially when it comes to behavioral addictions. Chemical addictions are straightforward. A substance—alcohol or drugs—makes chemical changes to your brain and makes it difficult for you to stop using. Clear signs of dependence emerge, such as withdrawal symptoms and tolerance. But, where do you draw the line when it feels like you might be obsessively engaging in an activity? Are you addicted? And if so, how do you stop?
What Is Social Media Addiction?
Being addicted to social media is not a condition recognized officially by the medical and addiction communities. However, there is a whole class of recognized addictive disorders called behavioral or process addictions. These refer to the compulsive and obsessive need to engage in a particular activity or behavior. It could be gambling, having sex, shopping, eating or even using social media.
In our hyper-connected world in which we are all glued to devices, becoming obsessive about using them is not unusual. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow us to keep in touch with other people, but when you keep turning to them with a burning compulsion, you may be developing a problem.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Problem With Social Media?
The line between responsible, normal use of social media and addictive use can be tricky to distinguish. It is especially difficult to see that line in your own use; it is easier to see it in others. For this reason, one sure sign that you need to rethink your usage is if someone points out your obsession. If a concerned loved one tells you that you may be turning to Facebook too often, you should listen and resist the urge to become defensive.
Another clear sign of a behavioral addiction is if you engage in the activity to feel better. If you get an emotional high or a feeling of stress relief from using social media, you are becoming dependent on it. Another sign is the experience of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms in chemical addictions are clear-cut and to be expected, but you can also experience them with behavioral addictions. Take notice if you feel anxious, depressed, or antsy when you can’t get to your phone or tablet to update your status.
If you find that your compulsive attachment to social media interferes with other aspects of your life, you need to reevaluate your usage. Maybe you are getting in trouble at work because you can’t stay off your favorite sites and you don’t get your work done. Maybe your relationships within your family are deteriorating because you spend too much time online. These are signs that you have a problem. Finally, if you recognize that you are online too often, try to cut back and find that you can’t, you may be addicted.
How Can I Get Help For Social Media Addiction?
As with any addiction, professional help and support of loved ones are the keys to recovery. As more people face the problem of overusing technology, more professionals are available to help you cope and come clean. Find a therapist or counselor who has experience working with people who have behavioral addictions. Also consider finding a support group that can help you deal with your problem by relating to others in the same situation. Enlist the support of your loved ones to help you get through this, and you will be successful.
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