How Real a Risk is Social Media Addiction?
Written by Phyllis Smith
Last updated on August 23, 2014 @ 10:41PM
Created on August 23, 2014 @ 10:23AM
For many of us, we use social media on a daily basis. This has many of you asking, is there a risk to develop a social media addiction? Internet addiction was first proposed as a psychiatric disorder in 1996, soon after it first entered our everyday lives.
Since then, with the expansion of social media, experts estimate that at least 1% of users worldwide need treatment. According to a study two years ago from the National Institutes of Health, Internet addiction disorder, otherwise known as IAD, has the ability to cause neurological complications, psychological disturbances and social problems.
"Social media can ruin relationships, friendships, or a work atmosphere. There's even cyber bullying. If someone's addicted to it and uses it all the time, it could definitely interfere with your lifestyle or your relationships with people," said Bryanna DeFazio, a Stonewood resident.
It's still not officially listed as a psychiatric disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the go-to-guide for identifying psychiatric illnesses. The more narrowly defined Internet gaming addiction was added just last year in May.
"I have some friends that check it multiple times an hour. They always have their phone in their hand. Even after they check it once, they check it again just because it's a habit," said Holli Queen, a Clarksburg resident.
Research shows Internet addiction frequently coexists with anxiety, depression or another addiction to things like alcohol or drugs. Social media in particular can be habit forming.
"Sometimes people post too much about their personal lives. I think a lot of people do it just to get attention," said Marion Emerson, a Clarksburg resident.
Health officials said subtypes of Internet addiction, like social media addiction, haven't been studied enough to get their own clinical definitions or treatment recommendations, but that traditional therapy may be able to help.
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