What Makes Social Media So Addicting, Its Drawbacks, How To Decrease Social Media Usage

About Social Media Addiction:

Social media addiction can have serious problems in mental and physical health.

Nowadays, it is found that most of the people spend hours scrolling down the pages of their social media accounts. Social media was started to keep in touch with family and friends, but it has become a hobby that eats away most of the time of the day.

Whether using social media to connect with family and friends or just simply to watch a video, it has come out as a favorite pastime of most, especially the children and teenagers.

Social media addiction is a type of behavioral addiction that is characterized by being overly concerned about social media and devoting the maximum time to it, to a limit that it impairs important areas of life.

What Makes Social Media So Addicting?

Being on social media relaxes the mind.

Logging into your favorite apps increases dopamine signals in the brain. These neurotransmitters are associated with pleasure. As there is an increase in the dopamine level, the brain identifies it as a rewarding activity and you tend to repeat it.

As this feel-good dopamine wears off you tend to go back to social media.

Social media can become a distraction for those isolated for work. The more you engage yourself into it more the brain pushes you to do it.

Studies show a constant stream of retweets, likes, and shares, affect the brain’s reward areas to trigger the same kind of chemical reaction as other drugs such as cocaine.(1)

Drawbacks of Social Media Addiction

Using social media once in a while is unlikely harmful. Overusing it has negative effects such as:

  • Low self-esteem due to incorrect perception of other’s life, thinking they have a better life than yours.
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fear of missing out that can lead to using social media more
  • Increased isolation and loneliness
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Poor work performance
  • A decrease in physical activity that can affect overall health
  • Ignoring relationship in real life, as you get more involved with the virtual ones
  • Reducing the ability to empathize with others

How To Analyze Your Social Media Addiction?

Social medic addiction is a habitual disorder and can be identified with a few common signs, as listed below:

  • Social media is the first thing you do while waking up in the morning
  • You tend to waste a lot of your time on nonsense and procrastinate things
  • You make a check-in, in your social media accounts wherever you go
  • You check the notification of your accounts frequently
  • You constantly monitor the likes and shares you get
  • You crave internet connection
  • You capture almost every moment of yours and upload it on your social media account
  • Whenever free, social media is the first thing you check
  • You get angry when there is no internet connection
  • You ignore your work and spend hours scrolling down the pages in your mobile

How To Decrease Social Media Usage?

It might give you a feel-good factor, but if something is affecting your mental and physical wellbeing, you need to give a thought on how to reduce it.

Following tips can help you achieve a healthy balance with social media:

  • Delete the social media apps from your mobile phone. Access them only from your computer. Keeping them off the phone would help in wasting lesser time on them.
  • Turn off the personal mobile while working, having meals, or doing any recreational activity. Turn off the notification of social media applications.
  • Do not bring your mobile, laptop, or tablet to the bedroom
  • Take out time to see your friends and family in person rather than virtually.
  • Take up some hobby such as cooking, art, sport, or any other hobby that is not technology related.

It is very important to take a break from virtual life and find some pleasure in real life as well. Give your gadgets a break that can be for a day or even a whole month.

If you suspect that you are a social media addict, there are ways you can help yourself come out of it. Do not hesitate to reach a mental health professional for help.

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