Engaging in social media is something that most of us enjoy, but some people have become so obsessed with this behaviour that it is ruining their life. There have been a number of reports about this in the media recently – including a report this week in the Queensland Times in Australia about how many parents were sending their children to rehab for help. There is plenty of evidence of rising social media addiction in the UK, but nobody is yet stating the obvious – it is becoming an epidemic.
Is Social Media Addiction Real?
Social media addiction refers to a situation where people are spending an excessive amount of time online – it can also be referred to as internet addiction. There are probably many of us who spend an unhealthy amount of time on the web, but this is not necessarily a sign that we have an addiction. The real problem is when people reach a situation where they feel uncomfortable when they are not engaging in this behaviour. It has become an obsession and they want to engage in this activity all the time.
Internet addiction is different from addiction to alcohol or drugs because it does not involve physical dependency. This might lead some people to conclude that it cannot be a real addiction. The reality is though, that people can be as dependent on social media as they can be on heroin, and it can destroy their life. It is all about loss of control, which is why internet addiction is very real.
Are You Addicted to Social Media?
If you are dealing with social media addiction, there will be a number of symptoms:
- you may have lost interest in other hobbies and now just want to spend all your time online
- you feel uncomfortable about going anywhere unless you have your mobile device with you so you can keep an eye on social media sites like FaceBook and Twitter
- other people have expressed concern about the amount of time you spend online
- you have tried to reduce the number of hours you spend online, but you failed to commit to this reduction
- you can’t imagine how you would be able to cope without having access to these social media sites
- engaging in social media is getting in the way of your work, social, or family commitments
- you have tried to hide the fact that you spend so much time online
- you may become irritable if other people question you about the amount of time you spend online.
It is important to keep in mind that it is not necessary to have all of these symptoms in order to be dealing with a social media addiction.
Rehab for Social Media Addiction
In many cases, individuals who are addicted to social media will find it hard to break away from the behaviour without help. This is because there will be underlying issues driving the behaviour and until these are dealt with the individual will continue to act out. Even if the individual does manage to break away from the internet addiction, they could still turn to other maladaptive behaviours. This is why in many cases the best option is for the person to enter rehab.
Entering an inpatient treatment programme will give the individual the opportunity to get down to the root of their addiction. It will mean that they will be able to look at their real problems and find solutions for these. It means the person will be free and restored to balance.