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Social Media Addiction Facts That May Surprise You

Can Social Media Play a Role in Addiction?

As the digital era continues to rise, technology has forever shaped our generation and the way we interact with others.

Social media allows users to share, connect, and discover instant news; however, there are dangers associated with the constant consumption of internet platforms on a daily basis. Addiction is a disease that knows no discrimination and can affect so many individuals. There are many factors that come into play before an addiction has formed, and social media is one that can have an influence on our decision to abuse drugs and alcohol. Even the patterns of use of the digital platforms themselves can signal a warning to the risky habits that are developing.

Our Illinois drug rehab explains social media addiction facts that you may want to consider and the treatment options available if you find yourself during such a dependency.

Is Social Media Addictive?

The simple answer: Absolutely. Although it falls into the category of a behavioral addiction rather than a physical one, it is still driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on and check one's pages on such a routine basis that their everyday life is affected. This phenomenon can be attributed to the dopamine-inducing sensations that social networks provide. It is believed that platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter can produce the same neural functions that are present among gambling addicts. Neuroscientists have even compared social media to a syringe of dopamine that is directly applied on a regular basis.

According to Dr. Tara Emrani, a psychologist at NYU Langone Health, even a simple “like” has been compared to produce similar effects in the brain as opioid use.1 This sensation has become such a normalized part of our everyday lives that only now are most people beginning to piece together how drastic it is.

How Vicarious Trauma Fuels Destructive Cycles

As nationally traumatic events like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing have grappled the minds of Americans in recent years, it has highlighted a destructive phenomenon in the lives of countless people. While it has been proven that social media is addictive, it can also lead individuals to become what is known as a doomscroller - a term used to describe the act of lending an excessive amount of screen time to absorb bad news.

A smartphone with internet access is like a portable library. You have an endless amount of information, good and bad, right at your fingertips at any given time. This allows the general population to be exposed to levels of destruction and devastation far greater than those that came before us. Unfortunately, it also can lead to the development of an internal need to “stay informed” and can even create symptoms that mimic PTSD, even while the user themselves were states away from the traumatic event in question.2

At times, the user will not realize the rabbit hole they are stuck in until a decent amount of damage has been done. It highlights the very realistic detriments that our reliance on technology brings about. Additionally, social media can also play a role in the development of substance abuse habits in impressionable young people.

Social Media Usage With Teens

70% of adolescents say that they use social media multiple times a day.3  Teen electronic addiction can have impacts on the user’s mental health, as well as their overall perception of drugs and alcohol. For instance, teenagers can feel pressure when they see others posting photos of drinking or partying, which in turn can lead to a desire to indulge in these unhealthy behaviors themselves.

In a way, social media has led to peer pressure to evolve and to follow these kids wherever they go. Gone are the days when they leave the party at which they are confronted with temptation. As their peers may be experimenting, it is common for photos containing alcohol or marijuana to be circulated around Snapchat or other platforms. These photos that are posted on Instagram or Facebook may normalize binge drinking behaviors for teens. If teens see their friends engaging in these behaviors, they can easily be persuaded to try drugs and alcohol for the first time.

Substance abuse in young adults can very easily come from the social pressures surrounding them, and this can be the start of a serious addiction. Many teenagers are at a time in their lives where they are uncertain of themselves, their place in the world, and where they want their life to go moving forward. Adding the devastating factors of an addiction complicates this even further and can result in issues that stay with them for the rest of their lives. Do not let social media and drugs continue to wreak havoc. Get help today at Banyan Chicago.

How Illinois Addiction Treatment Can Help

Social media alone does not cause addiction; however, the link between its usage and high-risk addictive behaviors should not be ignored. There is already evidence suggesting the negative impact that social media can have on our mental health and self-esteem, and our behaviors can easily be influenced by our peers and what they are doing on social media.

Whether it is an addiction to bad news, Facebook likes, or a full-blown substance use disorder, not being objective about the effects of technology can create more problems than it will solve.

For those looking to take the steps necessary towards recovery, our Illinois Addiction treatment center provides dual diagnosis options for those struggling with a substance use disorder and mental illness simultaneously. Additionally, our variety of therapy options can evaluate what brought your troubles about and teach you how you can amend them moving forward. We also provide numerous levels of care, like our Chicago IOP, which allows us to meet every patient where they are in their addiction or mental illness and give them the most effective treatment possible.

Take comfort in the fact that anyone can be treated, and if you or your loved one is battling this disease, contact Banyan’s Chicago Addiction Treatment Center at 888-280-4763. We can help anyone overcome addiction to live a healthy and happy life.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.