7 Signs of Social Media Addiction You Should Look Out For

Social media has become a big part of our lives, and it keeps growing and changing. While not everyone uses social media, it’s impossible to ignore its impact. Whether you’re staying connected with high school friends or expressing your views on politics, social media is a significant part of daily life.

College students are a demographic that is often catered to by popular social media platforms. While it’s fine to check social media a couple of times a day, some college students spend a significant amount of their free time on it. For some, it can turn into an addition that negatively impacts their mental health.

We’ll look at the downsides of spending too much time on social media, signs that you might be addicted, and how talking to a therapist can help break the cycle. 

The harm of social media addiction

As long as it’s not putting you or others in danger, it’s OK to do things in moderation, including using social media. An addiction happens when you spend too much time and energy on something, and it starts negatively affecting your mental health, productivity and relationships.

Over 4 billion people worldwide use social media. The average user has more than six different social media accounts and spends more than two hours a day on them. While social media can be great for staying in touch with friends and family and learning about what’s happening globally, it can be harmful if it becomes an addiction.

Social media addiction often happens because of dopamine, the “feel-good chemical,” released when you get the instant gratification of receiving a social media notification in response to your activity.

The potential negative effects of social media addiction include:

  • Low self-esteem due to consistent comparison to others
  • Mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression
  • Distraction from schoolwork
  • Social withdrawal/isolation away from family and friends
  • Sleep disruption

7 signs that point to social media addiction

While a social media addiction can have many harmful effects, it’s not always easy to recognize them in yourself. It’s easy to brush off hours scrolling on social media when it seems like everyone around you is doing the same thing. Being aware of signs of social media addiction, you can acknowledge your negative behavioral patterns and take steps toward breaking them.

Here are seven signs of social media addiction to be aware of:

  1. Incessantly checking your social media, often unconsciously due to habit
  2. Feeling anxious when you’re in a setting where you’re unable to access social media
  3. Preferring conversations on social media platforms as opposed to in person
  4. Loss of interest in “real-world” hobbies or activities
  5. Poor academic performance due to time spent on social media instead of studying
  6. Excessively posting or oversharing on social media
  7. Thinking about social media even when you’re not using it at the moment

Why you should seek therapy for social media addiction

If something is labeled an addition, it means it is interfering with your overall quality of life. If your use of social media is causing problems with your mental health, emotions or social life, it’s a good idea to get professional help, like talking with a therapist.

Using social media has been connected to problems that can make you feel depressed or anxious, even if you don’t have a diagnosed mental health disorder. Speaking with a licensed therapist can still be helpful in these situations.

A therapist can help you break your social media addiction by:

  • Figuring out the cause for your addiction
  • Improving in-person communication skills
  • Managing depression and anxiety symptoms caused by social media
  • Improving your self-confidence and sense of self outside of your social media “persona”
  • Developing healthy habits pertaining to social media behavior

Lightfully U can treat signs of social media addiction

People assume that you only need to seek treatment for addictions to objectively harmful substances and behaviors. But it’s important that a person with any kind of addiction receives the support and resources they need to break the bad habit.

If you recognize that you’re exhibiting signs of social media addiction, then Lightfully U can help with our Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program. With process-based therapy in our vIOP, we can help reduce your mental health distress from social media by treating your entire person, not just your addiction.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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