Social media has fast become the cornerstone of communication in the modern digital world. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok provide endless feeds of photos, videos, discussions, news, and entertainment.
According to Pew Research:
69% of older adults in the U.S. use Facebook.
Instagram and Snapchat are used by 67% and 62% respectively among 18-29-year-olds.
74% of Facebook users visit several times a day even if they suspect little has changed.
Over 76% of Instagram users visit the site daily, and 60% do so multiple times a day.
Social media has become the dominant means for sharing a person’s life with others; however, they often find themselves lost in countless hours of mindless scrolling, posting, liking, and commenting– often with a significant amount of time spent on site. Is the use of social media truly social or does its addictive potential contribute to an anti-social form of social connection and intimacy?
Social Validation Looping
When a person posts about their life or shares their opinions, they wait for friends and followers to like, comment, or re-post what they posted. Facebook and many of the social media platforms are designed with algorithms that dole out likes in a variable and unpredictable fashion so the person continues to have a need to check and be on-screen; every once in a while, they’ll get a like or comment that provides a small dopamine hit and just like a slot machine, it will keep them coming back for more.
Social media is a catalyst for social comparison and lowering our self-esteem. When people post their positive (often unrealistic) and fabulous lives on social media, others find themselves craving what they have or worse, judging themselves for what they don’t have. This form of social interaction offers little in the way of actual intimacy or real social connection and often leaves the user feeling empty and lonelier.
People don’t actually become addicted to social media. They become addicted to the neurobiological changes that come from engaging with it. At Lifeskills South Florida, we focus on helping patients find fulfillment from other real-time activities as well as making social connections and ultimately learn to use social media and other internet technology in a healthier and more balanced way.
Learn more about:
Video Game Addiction
Smart Phone Addiction
Social Media Addiction
About Process Addiction Disorders
Process Addiction Disorders are extreme or compulsive forms of a behavior that the individual is unable or is unwilling to stop despite the legal, financial, family, or other consequences.
Activities that fall into process addiction are ones that people engage in every day, such as shopping, gambling, exercise, eating, or sex. These non-substance related activities are ones that, unlike the general public, they struggle with the mental or physical health issues that arise as a consequence of their inability to stop without treatment.
Lifeskills South Florida’s clinical team is highly trained in process addiction treatment and creates a customized plan for each individual depending on their needs and willingness to engage in treatment.