According to psychologists, Addiction is a condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or in a behaviour for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behaviour despite detrimental consequences.

Addictions can however be of different types;-

  1. Addictions to substances
  1. List of impulse control disorders
  • Intermittent explosive disorder (compulsive aggressive and assaultive acts)
  • Kleptomania (compulsive stealing)
  • Pyromania (compulsive setting of fires)
  • Gambling
  1. List of addictions (behavioural)
  • Food
  • Sex
  • Pornography(attaining/viewing)
  • Using computers/internet
  • Playing video games
  • Exercising
  • Spiritual obsession
  • Cutting
  • Shopping

Albert Einstein had once quoted –“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots”.As a psychologist, I feel in recent times people have become slaves to technology. Everyone starting from adults to children want to be engrossed in this fantasy world rather than be connected with people in reality.

The motive of writing this article is to make people aware of what harm this technology is causing and how it is impacting our lives. According to recent statistics, Social media addiction is a growing phenomenon worldwide. The average person spends nearly 2 hours a day using social media, which amounts to 5 years and 4 months of his/her lifetime. In that time a person could run more than 10,000 marathons or travel to the moon and back on 32 separate occasions. For teens, social media time spent could be up to 9 hours every day.

The accessibility of mobile technology and social media hasn’t been without consequences. A 2018 study found that teens that spend 5 hours per day using their phones were almost twice as likely to exhibit depressive symptoms as counterparts who dedicated only 1 hour on their phones. Interestingly, the relationship between excessive mobile use and depression appears to be strongly linked to gender, with 58% more females than males experiencing depressive symptoms.

What Causes Social Media Addiction?

Just like gambling, alcohol, and drugs, social media addiction seems harmless, but it is a growing problem that needs to solve because the effect it brings can lead to depression, anxiety and more.

Whenever you receive notifications from social media like Face book, Instagram, and Twitter, your brain will release a small amount of dopamine. This makes you feel good on a chemical level. Each time you see a notification, your brain gets excited.

It is the “reward” that is the most important neurological reason responsible for the compulsive usage of the social network. When the brain created dopamine, it also creates the desire so that the person will search for and want more of the reward from using social media.

10 Common Signs You Are Addicted to Social Media
  1. Social media is the first thing you do in the morning.
  2. You waste your time looking at nonsense and procrastinate.
  3. You checked in everywhere you go
  4. You check notifications all the time
  5. You only want to talk and contact your friends via social media
  6. You constantly monitor the “likes” and “shares” you receive
  7. Craving for internet connection
  8. You take photos of almost everything
  9. Social media becomes part of your life
  10. Checking social media is the first thing you do whenever you are free

Other mental symptoms of social media addictions:        

  • Experiencing less satisfaction and hence less happiness
  • It can promote jealousy
  • It raises your anxiety level and affects our overall well being
How to Cure Social Media Addiction
  • Get rid of notifications
  • Limit your time spent on social media
  • Delete the apps
  • Make yourself busy
  • Restrict your time spent on social media through apps
  • Create your own reward system
  • Disconnect and unplug yourself
  • Never bring your smartphone into your bedroom
  • Get an accountability partner
  • Do a self-reflection every week
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