Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction is defined as an unhealthy dependence on interactive platforms such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram, snapchat and Tik Tok. It is often characterized by being overly concerned about social media driven by uncontrollable urge to on or to use social media and devoting so much time/effort that it interferes with other parts of your life. According to a Harvard study, self-disclosure on social media, “lights up” the same part of the brain that also ignites when someone engages in taking an addictive substance such as cocaine. When an individual gets a notification, such as a “like”, comment or mention, the brain receives a rush of dopamine causing the feeling of pleasure.

Signs of social media addiction:

  • Spending a large amount of time on social media
  • Thinking about social media when you are not using it
  • Spending less time doing other things that you usually enjoy such as your hobbies
  • Spending less time with others in order to be on social media
  • Using social media as a way to cope with unwanted, negative emotions
  • Becoming stressed and overwhelmed with posts
  • Checking social media in the middle of the night
  • Inability to control social media use
  • Lack of understanding of potential “real-world” consequences
  • Oversharing about your life
  • Ignoring everyday life responsibilities

Impacts of Social Media on Mental Health

  • Low self-esteem
  • Unhappiness
  • Isolation from others
  • Social pressures from others
  • Comparing self to others
  • Increased levels of depression and anxiety
  • Impaired sleep

Many individuals, specifically young adults live in a world where their smartphones are their virtual companions. It is easy to grab your phone to check your social media platforms as a “go to” coping skill in order to distract yourself from current stressors. However, long-term, it is actually impacting your mental health, specifically worsening anxiety and depression symptoms. It is crucial to become aware of the signs of social media addiction and learn ways to combat the addiction. If you are someone who experiences social media addiction and are wanting to discover more counseling techniques to take care of yourself, it could be beneficial to reach out for help.

The Behavioral Wellness Group’s College Mental Wellness Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) covers social media addiction and how to combat it with useful techniques. In addition, the CMW IOP covers other topics that young adults & college students struggle with such as self- esteem, time-management, stress management, etc. If you are interested in learning more about the College Mental Wellness IOP or want to set up an appointment with a licensed therapist, please call our intake department at 440-392-2222.

Madeline McDowell, LPCC
Therapist and College Mental Wellness IOP Director
The Behavioral Wellness Group