Common Misconceptions About Social Media Addiction


Social media has grown wildly since its inception. The ever-changing landscape of social media makes it hard to keep up with different trends, platforms, and their effects on their ever-growing user bases. As a result, there’s a lot of confusion, misinformation, or outright disregard for the very real effect social media has on society.

One major result of social media that we must discuss more clearly is social media addiction. See what this condition entails and learn your way around the common misconceptions about social media addiction with this guide.

It’s Not a Real Addiction

When many people think of addiction, the first thing that comes to mind is substance abuse disorders, like alcoholism or drug addiction. On the surface, social media addiction doesn’t sound nearly as drastic as drug dependency. Surely it can’t be a real addiction, right?

The truth is that social media addiction is one of the most common behavioral addictions. As with physical addictions, behavioral addictions include serious symptoms like intense cravings, obsessive thoughts about the addictive behavior, and risk of relapse when trying to quit the addictive behavior. Like any addiction, social media addiction can have a significant impact on mental and physical well-being without intervention or treatment.

Social Media Addiction Doesn’t Cause Withdrawal

Withdrawal is a defining feature of social media addiction. Internet usage creates the same reward response in the brain as other addictive behaviors and substances, which means individuals with social media addiction find themselves craving that stimulation. Over time, it takes more internet time to create that same reward response, which indicates that the brain develops tolerance to social media usage just as it does to drugs or alcohol.

During periods of withdrawal, individuals feel tired, depressed, irritable, or otherwise distressed—moods that fall in line with withdrawal symptoms for any other addiction.

Only Teens Experience Social Media Addiction

Today’s teenagers grew up with social media, so it makes sense that they’d be more susceptible to developing a social media addiction. As a result, one of the biggest misconceptions about social media addiction is that it affects teens and young adults only. The truth is that this disorder can affect anyone regardless of age. Furthermore, social media and general internet usage are becoming more and more unavoidable in our current society. You need internet access—and likely a phone or personal computer—for communication, work, access to news, shopping, entertainment, and so much more. This means that the risk of developing a social media addiction is ever-present and continuously growing for all demographics.

As with any mental health condition, it’s important to have clear facts and an open discussion about social media addiction. The more you know about social media addiction, the easier it is to recognize the symptoms and get the help you need to overcome this issue.

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