Are you consistently refreshing your Facebook or Instagram feed? Upon waking, do you check your social media apps before getting out of bed? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be addicted to social media. You are not alone. Or are you? Social media can make you feel connected with other individuals, yet it can also lead to isolation from the real world, personal interactions and connections.
The impact of being obsessed with cell phones and the world inside of social media is steadily increasing. People have begun to describe their need for presence on social media to be worse than craving a cigarette or alcoholic beverage. Shockingly, the average person between ages of 15 and 29 spends between two and three hours of their day on social media accounts.
What Does Social Media Addiction Look Like?
Daily use of social media in itself is not enough to be called an addiction. Many users can refrain from use when their attention is needed elsewhere. At what point does social media use become a process addiction? Like any other addiction, it occurs when the drug of choice (in this case social media), becomes more important than anything else and begins to interfere with personal relationships, education or the work environment.
Are any of these feelings familiar to you?
- Anxiety or depression surrounding times when social media cannot be accessed
- Anger or irritability when use of social media is interrupted
- Using social media during situations in which such use could be considered rude (i.e. during dinner or a meeting)
- Continued use of social media after being warned by parents or boss about its effect on studies or job duties
- Use leading to detrimental loss of personal relationships
- Unable to refrain from use in dangerous situations such as driving
- Avoiding social situations or hobbies which you enjoy in order to be active on social media
- Desire to use social media is so strong loss of sleep occurs
Help is Available
If a loved one has suggested you are on social media too often, arguments over use occur, or you feel you have lost the ability to enjoy life outside the realms of social networks, you may have a true addiction. Once the addiction is recognized, although it is not easy, people may be able to quit “cold turkey”. However when struggling with a process addiction, it may be valuable to seek the help of a therapist or counselor to find the root cause of the issue and establish a treatment plan. At the end of the day, the goal in overcoming social media addiction is to live and enjoy life to the fullest with those around you!
The Council on Recovery is often the starting place for individuals seeking outpatient rehab and counseling, as well as help for their family members. Call 713.942.4100 or visit www.councilonrecovery.org