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WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION?

Social Media Addiction is not a formal clinical diagnosis, it is fair to say that many people spend far too much time on social media and may at the very least describe themselves as being “obsessed”, if not addicted. In recent years the mental health community has become increasingly interested in the impact that modern technology has on our lives – both positive and negative. On the positive side, technologies such as Skype, Instagram, and Facebook allow us to stay in contact with family and friends on the other side of the planet. Yet, unfortunately, people spend hours every day updating their status, uploading pictures, commenting on walls, playing Facebook games, reading updates from others, and searching for new friends to add.

Social media addiction is compared to other addiction like drug addiction, porn addiction, sex addiction, alcohol addiction and so on. All are caused by the inefficiency and weakness of reward centre in the brain. Although social media addiction has not been medically recognised as a disease or social or mental disorder, it immeasurably has an adverse impact on people’s life.

People who are addicted to social media often refuse to acknowledge their addiction, perhaps they don’t know what it meant to be addicted to social media, or they don’t see the sign of addiction. Social media addiction is an addictive condition where people spend too much of time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. to the extent of having an impact on their life. One is also addicted to social media when one having compulsion to use social media. That is having uncontrolled urge to use social media.

The following are the sign of social media addiction:

•    A lot of time is used to think about social media at work, home, church, school etc

•    There is always an urge to use social media more and more without able to stop yourself from using it.

•    Social media is used in view to forget or escape from your problems just like the way an alcoholic addict does.

•     When individual spend a lot of time on social media to the extent of having a negative impact on your relationship and life.

Like other addictions, social media addiction has a negative impact on people’s life. Addiction to social media leads to unemployment, academic failure, loss of a relationship, and mental health problems.

Several research studies have identified a commonality of depression and anxiety among people who spend a significant amount of their time on Social Media. On Psychology point of view, people who are addicted to social media spend a lot of time alone and often feel the feeling of loneliness. In extreme cases, the sense of isolation can lead to mood disorder and depression.  A lot of research findings have linked the pleasure derived from getting likes, followers, and comments on social media like Instagram, Facebook,  Twitter etc. to dopamine’s secretion. Failure to obtain more likes and followers on social media leads to low self-esteem and anxiety.

Another effect of social media addiction is social media anxiety, which is also a subset of social anxiety. Social media addiction leads to feelings of distress and emotional imbalance as a result of preoccupation on what to expect from social media. This is common among celebrities and teenagers who often face cyber bully on social media. They are usually immersed in fear of how their experience and what they will face on social media.

Social media addictions also lead to Fear of Missing Out effect. FoMO is an uneasy feeling coming from the perception that one is missing out from a lot of rewards by being absent or offline. This effect is common among people with social media addiction. FoMO effect makes an addicted person to be anxious and occupied with fears and discomfort by not being on social media for more than an hour.

It’s advisable for social media addicted person to consult medical advice.

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