It is no secret the epidemic of social media has influenced communication across the globe.
Over three billion people were active social media users by early 2018, making up 43% of the world’s population. With such an increase in social media participants, questions have been raised as to if social media has become a global obsession.
The psychological explanation on what can cause an addiction or obsession to social media can vary by person. Some social media consumers fear missing out on events and invitations, some users want to compare their lives to a celebrity, friend, or someone of importance. Others want to monitor their likes and expand their following.
According to research from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, social media is linked to many types of anxiety, including one related specifically to one’s online usage – social media anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the United States. Social media anxiety disorder affects users who cannot go five minutes without being active on social media and feel severe anxiety if not checking their online status.
Some major systems for social media anxiety disorder according to the ADAA include:
- Isolating oneself from friends and family
- Severe nervousness or anxiety when not able to be on social media
- Spending six hours or more a day on media and networking
- Negative impacts of media on one’s personal lifestyle
Teenagers are likely the most affected by social media in this generation. Studies from Ashford University shows that teens who spend large amounts of time on social media are 2.2 times more likely to experience body image and eating concerns. An obsession with social media is also linked with depression, loneliness, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD].
The ADAA reports that about 30% of social media users spend 15 hours or more per week online. An excessive amount of hours on social media can cause physical risks including lower back pain, eye and neck strains. In some situations, the physical risks become more serious, causing nutrition and heart problems.
A simple solution to excessive media usage is to distance oneself from media networking and spend time doing activities in the real world with important people in one’s life. However, for many social media users, this task is far from easy.
The ADAA gives people the ability to connect with a therapist in their one’s own area through Find a Therapist at https://members.adaa.org/page/FATMain
If you or anyone you know suffers from social media anxiety disorder, or any other illness caused by media usage, seek help from a counselor, therapist or someone you trust.
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