WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION AND CURE FOR IT.
BY DEORAO K.
Using various types of social media accounts on our mobile phones or tablet or computer has become a daily routine these days. Especially young people and children are spending hours using social media.
Some people do it for constructive purpose and some are doing just to have fun. But if overdone this habit can have serious effects on our mental and physical health. You may end up getting addicted to it.
Want to know how? continue reading…
Do you feel anxious if you did not access social media for a couple of hours? Do you feel like something is missing in life if the internet not working for a day? Or not able to focus on the work if not sneaked into social media accounts?
If the answer is yes, then beware you could be suffering from social medial addiction and if not taken care of in time it could cause trouble.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION?
It is the compulsive and continuous use of social media without doing any constructive work.
Or another definition of social media addiction is, is strong and irresistible urge to use of social media on several occasions in a day. People with addiction find it hard to stay without using social media.
The same etiology can be applied to mobile phone addiction.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION.
You keep checking your mobile phone for notifications or social media accounts every 2-3 min though no one is there to message you or your internet is still off.
It becomes hard for you to focus on work if you did not post anything on your social media account. You feel ecstatic when you get lots of likes or comments on your post, on the other hand, you feel nervous or irritated even anxious when no one responds to your post.
without any constructive reason, you open social media account and indulge yourself in lifeless scrolling for hours and end up regretting it. You regularly keep checking your mobile phone for notifications. In a busy schedule, you find time to post at any cost.
You get anxious and panic when your internet stops working or your battery dies. You get angry if someone tries to bully you online or post something against you.
If what is written above is resonating with you, that means you are addicted to social media or you are on the way to social media addiction.
PHYSIOLOGY BEHIND SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION
We have a reward system in our brains. The control of this reward system is present in the reward center which is located in the lateral hypothalamus, ventral tegmental area, and nucleus accumbens. Hypothalamus is a lower part of our brain. And the neurotransmitter responsible is dopamine.
Dopamine is a pleasure enzyme. Brain secret dopamine when you feel excited or overwhelmed.
HOW REWARD CENTER WORKS IN SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION?
When you do something your reward center asks for a reward. For example, if people responded to your post it activates your reward center and reward pathway.
The response to your post is considered a reward by our brain which leads to dopamine hormone secretion. Because of this, you feel overwhelmed and happy and you keep on posting repeatedly to collect the reward.
After some time our body gets habituated to high domine surge and overwhelmed. If the dopamine level starts diminishing it creat a craving for it. Which creat an urge to check notifications to make a new post.
In advance cases, we can’t help ourselves from posting and continuously checking for likes and comments. And when people don’t respond, you feel sad and depressed due to a lack of dopamine in the system. This is called the Dopamine crisis.
Dopamine detox is required in advance cases.
REWARD SYSTEM OR PATHWAY IN SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION
The reward pathway involved is called the Mesolimbic Dopamine pathway. Which connect VTA, Nucleus Accumbens to the cerebral cortex (Frontal part).
When people respond to your post it activates your reward pathway by secreting dopamine. Because of that, you feel happy. But it is impossible to explain why you feel so this is how this system works.
Happiness is because of dopamine surge if no one responds it results in a dopamine crisis. Which makes you feel nervous, irritated, and empty. And to seek more of it we keep posting regularly to collect the reward. We call this irresistible behavior a social media addiction.
You might also like to read,
- THIS IS WHY MOBILE PHONE IS RUINING THE FUN OF CHILDHOOD FROM CHILDREN.
- THIS IS HOW SOCIAL MEDIA OVERUSE MAKING US SAD AND LONELY.
HOW TO DEAL WITH SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION.
If you want to find a cure, You have to be honest with yourself and accept that you are addicted to social media in the first place.
I have seen many people who show typical signs and symptoms of social media addiction but they are ignorant to accept the truth.
If you accept it will make your mind relax and it prepares your mind to discipline it.
Think that social media is just a virtual world and not the actual one.
People in your friend list may not be your actual friends and they just like or comment formally and not because they like you.
YOU CAN TRY FOLLOWING TRICKS TO GET RID OF SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION.
1) DISCIPLINE YOU MIND.
Try to avoid unnecessary use of social media. Decide on how many times you will post today or check your likes and comments.
Initially, you will feel anxious and irritated but as time passes the sign and symptoms will start fading.
Try to fix no social media day when at least one day in a week you won’t open any of your social media accounts no matter how strong a craving you get.
2) GIVE YOURSELF GIFT.
This method also works for some people especially younger people. Give yourself a gift for not signing in to any social media account today. The longer the time you stay away from it bigger will be the gift. Or give yourself points or ratings.
3) DEEP BREATHING.
When you feel like using social media just take a deep breath in and out more than three times, I prefer six times. It will reduce the urge by making your brain forget about the thought of signing in.
When we do active breathing we can’t think of anything else which reduces the urge.
4) LOW OF DISPLACEMENT.
This means when you feel like using social media, think about something else, about good memories, about your hobbies which will displace your thought of using social media to something else.
The low of displacement is extensively explained by Brian Tracy in his book “Maximum Achievement”.
5) PRIORITIZE YOUR WORK.
If you are working and got the urge of using social media, take a moment and think that what is your priority at right this moment.
Our brain has a habit of focusing on priorities and other thoughts will fade automatically.
6) COMMON SENSE.
Social media is a virtual world and not the real one. Your friends and followers may not be your actual friends. No need to give them unnecessary importance.
If no one responded that doesn’t mean you are not good, that just means people have different tastes. So chill, we have lots of things to do on the planet earth that are interesting and fun.
7) SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP.
In advance cases, seek professional help and counseling from a certified mental health counselor.
The obsession to use social media without any reason. It is behavioral dependence on social media.
It’s impossible for addicted people to stay away from checking their social media account for not even a few minutes.
If you keep these people away for a while, they feel nervous, irritated, and anxious.
Social media is addictive because it affects your emotional (Limbic) brain. You get emotionally involved in it because of the reward pathway of your Limbic brain.
If an addicted person kept away from using social media for some time they start feeling irritated, nervous, sad, lonely, and anxious.
They keep checking social media accounts several times a day without any reason, indulge in lifeless scrolling for several hours.
Here are 7 tips with which you can get rid of social media addiction.
1. Discipline your mind.
2. Reward yourself with gifts or points.
3. Mindful breathing.
4. Law of displacement of thought.
5. Prioritize your work.
6. Common sense.
7. Seek professional help.