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“It’s 3 a.m.and I can’t sleep. I’ll just go check my Facebook.” If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! Social media is the latest social drug of choice among many. Therapists are reporting an increase in patients reporting Facebook problems, and they are treating it as a psychological addiction. There are two psychological characteristics generally associated with addiction: thrill seeking and impulsively. Facebook and other social media users are no different. They are out there looking for the thrill of finding an old flame, or meeting someone new. With the obscurity, and even anonymity across cyberspace, they have no restraint.
Similar to how an individual’s decision to use drugs is affected by his or her environment, genetics, family, culture, etc. so is a person’s addiction to social media. Take Man A – married, works full-time, two kids, uses Facebook to reconnect with old buddies and keep up on the latest news; wife doesn’t have a problem with the social networking.
Man B – married, alcoholic, uses Facebook to stay in touch with ex-girlfriends and see where the next party is scheduled; wife is upset and it is creating problems in the marriage.
Man B is escaping his environment and looking for the happiness he feels he is missing from the real world. Consequently, the more positive feedback he receives from his Facebook friends, the more encouragement he has to continue his addictive behavior.If social media has become a priority over your job, sleep or time with face-to-face family and friends, you may want to consider the possibility of a social media addiction. Treatment is available in the form of behavioral therapy, and medication if appropriate, as it can be a solution to social media addiction. Often an addiction is the result of other psychological problems such as anxiety disorder. Since social media is here to stay and likely only going to increase in popularity, it is important to be aware of your own risk factors for addiction and to attempt to limit your social networking if you are concerned about spending too much time tweeting, friending or other engaging in other social medias activities.
This post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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