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Social Network Addiction: Is It Our New Clinical Disorder?

The word “trend” holds no value today without the aid of social networking sites and social media. Social media carries information in every category to the ends of the earth, and it is also the easiest way to keep in touch with friends and family digitally from any location. Social networking is only a branch of social media, but both include the use of apps to connect to people as well as share information. It is unbelievable the number of people that are constantly on social media daily and the way people connect with other people whom they may never get to meet physically. Social media is influential and can affect the way people perceive anything. It can be said that social media is addictive and has a powerful effect on the mind.

What is social media addiction? This is the uncontrolled use of social media, which may have a negative effect on one’s physical life and relationship.

Is Social Media Addictive?

There is a close connection between social media and the human mind. When you log into your social media account, you are often overwhelmed by the number of trending updates and the colorful images, hilarious videos, rumors, trending gossips, memes, and information that just keeps you scrolling, clicking, downloading, reposting, sharing, saving, and replying for hours on end.

These activities take priority in a particular part of the mind and make it challenging to take up some other activity. This is definitely an addiction, even though we often feel like we are in control. Why is social media so addictive? Many people use social media for fun. However, some people engage in social media wholly and compulsively rely on social media binging for mental stability. In some cases, the lack of social media interaction may lead to social media addiction symptoms such as moodiness, aggression, anxiety, and fear of missing out phobia (FOMO), more.

Social Media Addiction Facts

According to reports, there were about 2.34 billion social media users worldwide in 2016. Facts reveal than every minute people on Facebook create 510, 000 comments, 136,000 image uploads, and 293, 000 status updates. An average user spends at least 20 minutes on Facebook daily.

Since the launch of Instagram in 2010, the social media platform generated over 500 million active users in 2016, and in June 2018, it hit one billion users worldwide. The platform has over 500 million users per day.

The number of people who use social media and social networking platforms increases daily. Every day an average of 11 new users join social media. Today, about 3.5 billion people use social media. The current average time a person spends on social media daily is 2 hours 28mins. Social media addiction often keeps people up late at night due to the need to interact.

What Makes Social Media Addictive?

To fully grasp what makes social media addictive, one must first understand what is obtainable from social media. Addiction to social media is common due to the need to stay current on trends and to maintain virtual relationships. In plain fact, social media is highly engaging and entertaining. The effect of internet addiction starts in the brain; the use of social media causes the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that creates pleasurable feelings in the mind. The release of dopamine is so effectual that it can keep people online for long periods. Social media addicts feel a strong desire to engage and reciprocate on digital platforms irrespective of current real-life situations. The continuous use of social networking platforms increases the risk and severity of the addiction.

How can Addiction to Social Media be Treated?

Breaking the habit of social media indulgence can be difficult when you imagine the amount of entertainment that you may be missing out on. However, it is imperative to understand that every excess has its toxicity levels, and social media could “virtually” be taking away from your real-life experiences that you cannot get back. The best ways to treat social media addiction is to:

  • Limit the use of social media
  • Follow-up on productive activities with real friends and family
  • Unfollow those popular pleasure platforms that keep you going back
  • Detox from social media by completely exempting yourself for a period of time