Social media is a huge part of our lives and there are very few people with a smartphone these days that don’t have some form of social profile online. But it’s come to a point where it can also be hugely problematic.
Millions of people around the world have developed an unhealthy relationship with social media, to the point that social media addiction is being recognised as a disease in the same manner as gambling or alcohol. In fact, tens of thousands of people have already received addiction detox treatment for social media. But how do you know if you have a problem?
Social media addiction is characterised by an uncontrollable use of the platforms, despite suffering negative consequences from it. Those negative consequences can range, from online bullying to loss of motivation in everyday life, damage in relationships, which will ultimately lead a person down a pathway of anxiety, depression and loneliness, again symptoms you would find in other forms of addiction.
It’s no real surprise to note that many people do worry about their relationship with social media, and signs you may have a problem could include:
- Risky Use: Are you using social media when it’s not physically safe to do so, for example driving. Are you doing it when it’s not emotionally safe for you to do so? This can also be a sign of addiction.
- Physical dependence: Do you have a dependency on checking social media, and do you feel better or a sense of relief when you have checked it?
- Is it causing social problems: Is the time spent on social media causing relationship problems in the real world, such as in school, work or at home?
Alongside this, there are many other symptoms and signs that you may have an addiction to social media, many of which are common across other forms of addiction too. These can include:
- Feeling lost or uncomfortable without it: Just as alcoholics feel safe and comforted when having a glass in their hand, a person will feel uncomfortable when they’re not online checking their phone and accounts.
- Others believe you have a problem: If other people are calling out that you may have a problem, then the chances are that you probably do. Friends and family can often notice these things and it’s important that you do listen.
- You get a buzz when people react to your posts: Gratification is what many are seeking from social media and if you’ve become reliant upon that then it could be a sign you have a problem.
If any of the above you can identify with, then it may be time to explore your relationship with social media and determine whether it’s time to put a pause on your accounts, or furthermore, seek help.