Social media is a fantastic tool that allows everyone with internet access to connect with friends down the street and new people worldwide. While social media itself is a positive thing, spending too much time immersed in social media can also have a negative impact on your life. If you’re concerned about the effects of social media addiction on your teen, contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today at 866.300.5275 and learn about our social media addiction treatment program.
Is Social Media Addiction Serious?
Like other types of process addictions, addiction to social media can directly affect brain function and quality of life. According to a study by the California State University system, it’s estimated that up to 10% of Americans are addicted to social media. Not every person who accesses social media develops a problem, but teens and adolescents whose brains are still developing are more vulnerable to the unwanted side effects of social media.
Social Media and Your Brain
Logging on to your favorite apps is a pleasurable experience that causes your brain to increase the production of dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical your brain produces to inspire feelings of pleasure. The positive sensations are even stronger if something you posted gets a lot of positive feedback. However, the pleasurable experience is temporary. When the dopamine wears off, people with social media addiction log back in and make more posts, seeking that positive reinforcement.
There’s nothing wrong with engaging in social media on a limited basis. It can be fun and educational. Unfortunately, in addition to affecting the way your brain produces chemicals, there are several other downsides of overusing social media, including:
- Increased feelings of isolation and loneliness
- Lowered self-esteem if your posts don’t get attention or if you perceive others have a better life than yours
- Anxiety or depression
- FOMO, meaning the fear of missing out, which can lead to increased use
- Losing social skills, ignoring real-life relationships and activities
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Reduced empathy for others
Relying on social media to provide personal validation can negatively affect a teen’s confidence and ability to interact with peers in live social situations.
Is It Just a Habit, or Is It Social Media Addiction?
It may be necessary to have a mental health professional determine whether your teen has developed an addiction or just a bad habit. Some of the notable warning signs of social media addiction include:
- Social media use is negatively affecting academic performance
- Your teen cannot ignore social media during other activities, such as family meals or hanging out with friends.
- Your teen is irritable and anxious when unable to use social media
- Relying on social media to cope with problems has become a habit for your teen.
- Your teen has begun checking social media apps at every opportunity.
If you or your teen shows the above signs, setting down rules and limits may not be enough. Once a person becomes addicted to social media, they may experience withdrawal effects and exhibit behaviors that are similar to people with substance use disorder.
Social media addiction may cause your child to lie, hide, and deny their social media use. They may also exhibit anger and frustration if they lose their access to social media.
Help for Social Media Addiction from Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Treating process addictions like social media addiction is one of the services we provide at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery. We take a comprehensive approach to our treatment programs. This means combining several types of therapy to ensure every client is fully engaged and inspired by their individualized program. Call Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today for more information about social media addiction and how we can help. Just dial 866.300.5275.