Social media is just as addictive as drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Being addicted to Facebook and Instagram may seem harmless at first, but it can have significant unforeseen consequences. Suddenly you feel depressed, unproductive and downright irritable, all because of the world within your phone. Check out these seven signs of social media addiction, along with some tips for addiction recovery.
You Feel Anxious When You Cannot Access Social Media
Have you ever felt pain in your stomach when your Wi-Fi is lagging? Do you watch the clock during a Facebook update waiting for the app to be available? This is a sign of dependency, just like the craving sensation you would feel in between smoke breaks. When your need for social media becomes this strong, it’s time to reconsider how you’re spending your time.
Your Social Media Usage Is Cutting into Your Work Time
Some workplaces have strict phone and internet policies that prevent employees from accessing social media. That doesn’t stop workers from bending the rules though. You may take a few extra bathroom breaks to check your newsfeeds, or you might sneak some messages in under your desk. If social media is affecting your work, you’re putting your success at risk…for nothing. That post you “have to see” is not worth losing your job over.
You Immediately Check Your Phone When You Hear a Notification
Phone notifications spark a small release of dopamine in your brain. This is the “happy chemical” that makes you feel like you’re getting rewarded. Dopamine is a primary element in most addictions, like gambling and smoking. You enjoy the sensation, so you do more to experience it. The cycle continues from there.
If you feed into this process by immediately checking your phone, you’re fueling your social media addiction. An addiction counselor will tell you to slow your response times to devalue your brain’s interpretation of the notification. It’s mind over matter, and best of all, it works!
You Tentatively Monitor Your Posts to See How Many Likes You Get
Do you refresh the page after a post to watch the likes go up? This once again points to social media addiction. You’re “chasing the high” described in the section above. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, but there needs to be a balance of self-worth and assigned-worth. Self-worth should always take precedence because your opinion of a post is what truly matters.
You Check Your Accounts Right When You Wake up And Right before Bed
Your phone screen disrupts your body’s ability to rest. That’s why we recommend not looking at your phone at least 30 minutes before bed for an optimal sleep routine. If you check your phone right when you wake and right before bed, that indicates social media is high on your priority list.
Your Spouse, Friends and Family Say You Seem “Distant”
Ironically, social media addiction can lead to social isolation. Your need to stay connected with the world can pull you away from the world around you. Friends and family members may say you seem distant because you’re always on your phone, even when you’re with people you’re looking at online. Through social media addiction recovery, you can learn how to live in the moment and enjoy social media in moderation.
You Measure Life Events by How Upload-Worthy They Are
Say you’re at a party and you’re really enjoying yourself. The lighting is terrible though, so you can’t get a good picture with your friends. Does that diminish your enjoyment? Does the party suddenly seem less fun? That’s another indicator that you have social media addiction. You cannot find joy in an event unless you can post about it.
How to Stop Social Media Addiction
By now, you may have determined that you do indeed have social media addiction. Don’t worry – it’s easier to fight than you think. With some addiction counseling and simple lifestyle changes, you can take control of your life once again. Stay tuned for the second half of this guide where we explain how to stop social media addiction.
Urban Balance provides addiction counseling services in St. Louis, MO, as well as multiple locations in the Greater Chicago area. If you’re interested in working with an addiction therapist, contact the location nearest to you, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.