While a doctor can’t diagnose you with an illness called social media addiction, it’s very possible for it to take on an outsized value in your life. It can lead to compulsive behavior. In fact, some experts believe that 10 percent of the U.S. population meets the criteria for social media addiction.
Social media, when used in moderation, can be a great way to connect with friends and family, especially if you don’t live close by. And it can be a fun way to relax. But it’s also easy to lose track of time, and allow social media to take up too much of your life. Also, if using social media causes you to feel bad about yourself or to obsess about how others online will perceive you, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship to it.
Overusing social media can lead to low self-esteem, fear of missing out (“FOMO”) when not using social media, a sense of loneliness and isolation, ignoring or neglecting real-life relationships, and failure to tend to responsibilities like work or family.
It’s important to keep in mind that, as real as social media can feel, it’s not real life. People work hard to present a sanitized version of their lives that rarely reflects reality they don’t want others to see. That’s why comparing your life to the curated versions you encounter on social media can make you feel like you’re coming up short.
If you’re concerned your social media use hobby has become a habit, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your relationship with it. Take a look at these signs to help identify whether your use of has gotten out of control:
Also, ask yourself how you really feel when using social media. Does it make you feel good about yourself, or do you feel like you don’t measure up to others? Does it feel like something you have to do, versus something you want to do? Your relationship with social media can change over time, so check in with yourself regularly to prevent a social activity from becoming a compulsive behavior.
At Hope Canyon, we use social media to maintain our connections with past clients, and to build relationships with new ones. After all, social media can be used in ways that are healthy and productive. However, real life relationships are more authentic and more fulfilling than any social media interaction.
As you undergo addiction treatment at Hope Canyon, we’ll help you find ways to end your dependence on social media. Along the way, you’ll create new relationships that are based on common experiences. And you’ll find that those friendships mean much more than accumulating “likes” or followers.
There are some things you can do to get started. First, go ahead and adjust the settings on your smartphone so you don’t receive push notifications from apps. On many smartphones, you can set time limits to help you put guardrails on the time you use any given app each day. Also, think about removing social media apps from your smartphone. You don’t have to delete your account if you don’t want to. But by keeping social media apps off your phone, it’s easier to pay attention to real-life relationships.