Checking in on Foursquare to rave about restaurants or sharing a few photos with friends on Instagram plays a role in the lives of young adults. Young adults and social media go hand-in-hand, as the majority of young adults dab into virtual life thanks to websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. While some productive social media use changes life in a good way, like landing a job via Linked In, the misuse can quickly turn habitual and even lead to social media addiction.
Symptoms of social media addiction
Young adults using social media on a daily basis does not necessarily qualify as having a social media addiction. Social media addiction involves unmanageable and sometimes risky behaviors. What constitutes a social media addiction?
The effects of social media addiction
Social media addiction poses a threat to the self-esteem of young adults. Addicted to social media, young adults rely on the number of “likes” they receive from their posts and pictures. This trains young adults to look for outward acceptance instead of building confidence in themselves by pursuing personal strengths and interests. Without gaining the expected or desired recognition on posts and pics, young adults addicted to social media may become disappointed to the point of depression.
Virtual environments often involve bullying. Unwarranted, misconstrued, and derogatory comments from “friends” users may barely know affect how young adults addicted to social media view themselves and their interests. Anxiety, stemming from negative feedback and news feeds, may accelerate prior vulnerabilities and undermine maturational development as virtual relationships replace actual time spent with peers.
Withdrawal is painful
Healthy coping skills, in response to life’s daily stressors, like practicing yoga or playing music, are replaced by addictions. When faced with challenge, addicts use harmful substances or practices. Like an addiction to alcohol or heroin, social media addiction warps the addict’s ability to function without it. While an alcoholic or heroin addict suffers apparent physical withdrawal, often requiring hospitalization, withdrawing from social media addiction may incur feelings of anxiety, panic, depression, and isolation. The severity of anxiety or depression from social media addiction withdrawal may require formal treatment.
Ditching social media addiction
Social media addiction may be reduced to a manageable level of social media use either at home or with professional assistance, depending on the intensity of the addiction. Strategies for maintaining social media use at home include:
Young adults, severely addicted to social media and unable to carry out daily demands, benefit from programs like the Substance Abuse Services at Yellowbrick, where carefully trained Addiction Specialists support and guide addicts through individual sessions as they come to terms with their addictions. Yoga and art therapy give young adults the opportunity to develop healthy coping skills and partake in activities away from digital devices. In-person social relationships replace online relationships through group programming. Social media addicts have positive outcomes and achieve personal and social balance when they welcome professional help.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
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A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.