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Understanding Social Media Addiction

Do You Have a Social Media Addiction?

Social media addiction has become a serious problem in the United States. This might be a statement that causes most people to roll their eyes. However, please rest assured that it is a real condition. Most people really have no idea how much they spend on social media throughout the day. Almost everyone is checking their social media accounts constantly, all day long. For those who have social media addictions, there is a very good reason for it. These sites are working hard to make their networks as active as possible. Their goal is to make them so interesting and engaging that people just can't resist them.

Social Media Addiction Information

Are you ready for some startling social media addiction facts? These might surprise you:

  • There are more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide.
  • This means that 28% of time spent on online is spent on social media.
  • People between the ages of 15 and 19 spend at least 3 hours a day using various social media sites.
  • People between the ages of 20 and 29 will spend at least two hours a day on social media.
  • 18% of social media users can't go more than a couple of hours without checking Facebook.
  • 28% of iPhone users will check Twitter before they even get out of bed.
  • Worldwide, 39,757 years of time is spent on Facebook in a single day.
  • 16% of people rely on social media for their morning news.
  • Smartphone users have an average of 7.4 social media apps on their phones.
  • People upload 5 million images every day on Instagram.
  • More than 500 million tweets are sent out every day.
  • The Google +1 button is pressed about 5 billion times every day.
  • 2 new users sign up for LinkedIn every second of every day.
  • People spend about 15 minutes every day on YouTube.
  • The average person in the United States spends almost ¼ of their workday on social media. This is for non-work related activities.

Are you shocked? Clearly, social media addiction is prevalent, and for some, it has completely taken over their lives.

Perhaps you're a social media addict yourself. When you think about it, you're not quite sure how you got to this place. You only know that you need to change, somehow. Or, it's possible that others are telling you that you're addicted to social media, but you're in denial. Either way, if you suspect there might be a problem, it's important to learn as much about it as possible.

At Northpoint Washington, we've worked with patients with social media addictions before. We know how hard it is to overcome them. However, we also know it's possible. We'd like to educate you on social media addiction. This will help you understand what it is and whether or not you have it.

What Exactly is a Social Media Addict?

A social media addict is someone who feels compelled to use social media frequently throughout the day. This person doesn't just check Facebook or Instagram once in a while. There are feelings associated with social media. Strong feelings that won't go away, and just keep getting stronger.

According to an article on the CBS News website, one social media marketer has just quit Facebook. He was fearful that he had developed an addiction. He likened Facebook to a digital water cooler. He was quoted as stating, “It was a constant interruption pulling me away from the work that I was otherwise enjoying.”

Social media addiction is still a fairly new idea in the world of psychology. However, researchers know that it is a real affliction. It is characterized by two behaviors. People feel an ever-increasing need to engage with it, and they feel bad when they don't get enough. When social media use begins to interfere with other activities, it is considered an addiction.

In a very real way, this is just like any other addiction, and it needs to be treated similarly.

Different Kinds of Social Network Addiction Explained

Just like with other addictions, there are different kinds of social media addictions. These include:

  • Those who have Facebook addictions
  • People who are addicted to Twitter
  • Those who are addicted to Snapchat
  • People with Pinterest addictions
  • LinkedIn addictions
  • Instagram addictions
  • People who have YouTube addictions

In all there are more than 90 different social media sites. There are always new sites being added, and these companies are working hard to make improvements.

While there are people who choose just one site to follow closely, most people use multiple sites. This is probably a way to calm their fears if one site happens to be down for a period of time. There's no need to be concerned because they can just go to another site to get their “fix.”

If you have a social media addiction, it doesn't really matter what site you use. It doesn't matter how many of them you use regularly. What matters is that the persistent and constant use of social media is ruining your life. Of course, this doesn't happen all at once. It takes time for social media addiction to real set in. Once it does, it's so important to recognize it for what it is.

Social Media Addiction Symptoms Described

You have had friends and family tell you that you have an addiction to social media. However, when you look at your social media interaction, you just don't see it. This is actually quite common. You may be in denial, or you may just not know what social network addiction looks like.

It can help to take a look at some of the symptoms of social media addiction. Have you noticed any of these within your own life?

  • Feeling compelled to check your phone for notifications every few minutes.
  • Feeling as though the world is ending if you aren't able to access your social networks.
  • Using social media slang (LOL, BRB, etc.) in everyday language.
  • Checking in at every location you're at so people know where you are.
  • Frequently posting about what you're doing all throughout the day.
  • Tagging your friends in pictures that don't involve them at all.
  • Using hashtags incessantly.
  • You believe life is happening more on social media than in reality.
  • Panicking if you're not able to post or upload pictures.
  • Being unable to go even one day without social media.
  • Looking down on others who don't have social media accounts.
  • Experiencing stress when others don't respond to your posts.
  • Feeling proud when your posts and pictures get a lot of likes and comments.
  • Spending a lot of your work hours on social media.
  • Adding strangers on social media to increase your friends or connections.
  • Social media has become as important to you as sleeping and eating.
  • Feeling the need to look at social media first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.
  • Feeling uncomfortable communicating with others without involving social media.

You don't have to have all of these symptoms to have a social media addiction. However, if you have more than a few of them, it might indicate that you're a social network addict.

Are You Addicted to Social Media? Take This Test to Find Out

How are your everyday behaviors influencing your life with regards to social media? It might be very helpful for you to take a test to find out if you're addicted to it. Sometimes answering questions can give you even more information about yourself.

Below, you'll see several questions regarding your social media use and your relationship to it. Answer each question honestly.

  • Do you wake up in the middle of the night to check your notifications?
  • Do you hurry to get up in the morning to check your social media?
  • Do you ever feel disappointed if you don't receive as many notifications as you were hoping for?
  • Do you have a morning ritual of checking your social media accounts?
  • Do you keep your phone in bed with you at night?
  • Do you use verbs that only apply in the social media world? For example, saying you need to Facebook that, or tweet that?
  • Do you use hashtags when you speak?
  • Do you spend more than four hours on social media every day?
  • Do you get on social media in the restroom?
  • Do you use social media to contact companies to complain, rather than calling them?
  • Do you get upset if you don't have a good WiFi or Internet connection?
  • If your follower numbers drop, do you become very upset?
  • Is social media beginning to negatively influence everything else in your life?

If you answered yes to more than a few of these questions, you probably do have a social media addiction.

What Causes Social Network Addictions to Occur?

Social media addictions can be caused by a number of different things. People can become addicted to the dopamine response that their brains produce. When you use social media, your brain secretes dopamine. This acts as a reward, and you become happy and feel fulfilled. Over time, you begin to crave that dopamine, and your brain associates that craving with your social media use.

People who have problems being social in real life may also be more drawn to social media. For them, it's almost as if it's a way for them to hide behind who they really are. Social media can allow them to be anyone they choose to be, in some cases. This could stem from a pre-existing mental health condition.

How Can Social Media Addicts Get Help to Recover?

A growing number of people in the United States have social media addictions. Many of them also have other types of addictions. For example, they may also be alcoholics, or suffering from drug addictions. For these individuals, new approaches to addiction treatment are needed.

Dual diagnosis treatment is a form of addiction treatment that can address all of these issues. However, if social media is the only addiction present, there may be other alternatives to consider.

Therapy can be very helpful for someone who is addicted to social media. What most people don't realize is that social networking sites are powerful. They ruin relationships, they cause self-esteem issues and a host of other problems. The right therapist can help you work through the damage that social media has caused.

Support groups are also very beneficial for social media addicts. Any addiction can be very lonely. You feel as though you're the only one suffering. Support groups reinforce the truth that you are not alone.

Finding the Right Social Media Addiction Treatment for You

Now that you know more about social media addiction, can you recognize it within yourself? You may have been spending most of your adult life in denial about having this addiction. So many people do. They claim that they are just fine, and they don't need to get help. It may even seem silly for you to think about getting treated for a social media addiction.

For just a moment, think about how social media has been affecting your life. You may have noticed that you're not performing as well in your job. Maybe your in-person social life hasn't been very good. It's even possible that your marriage is suffering. These are all indicators of a very serious problem. What's worse is that you can easily become involved in an addiction cycle that's very difficult to break.

At Northpoint Washington, we know the dangers of social media addiction. We've worked with patients who have witnessed the extreme negative impact of it in their lives. You may be there, or you may be heading in that direction. We want to help you turn things around for the better.

Do you need treatment for a social media addiction? Contact us today to learn about your options and how we can help you.