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The Connection Between Social Media And Addiction: Understanding The Risks

Social Media Addiction

Social media is a “collective term for websites and applications that focus on communication, community-based input, interaction, content-sharing, and collaboration.” Social media has become ubiquitous in the lives of Americans, as it offers a platform for communication, information sharing, and entertainment. According to the Pew Research Center, 69% of adults and 81% of teens in the U.S. use social media. While social media has its benefits, such as connecting people across the globe and facilitating the spread of knowledge, there are also potential risks associated with its use, including the risk of addiction.

The Connection Between Social Media And Addiction

There is an undeniable link between social media and addiction. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” A study, for example, conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teenagers who regularly use popular social media outlets were more likely to drink, use drugs, and buy tobacco than adolescents who either did not use social media or used it less frequently. In addition to drug exposure through marketing and advertising, social media is the catalyst for many mental health problems that can lead to substance abuse. Further, scientists have discovered that social media overuse creates neurological stimulation patterns that mirror the patterns created by other addictive behaviors. 

Understanding The Risks

The use of social media is associated with a wide range of unwanted effects, as it can influence one’s emotional well-being, mental and physical health, as well as many other areas of one’s life. These issues have been found, to varying degrees, in users of several social media platforms, such as Facebook, InstagramTwitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. The risks of social media use extend far beyond addiction. Specifically, research shows that the use of social media is associated with:

As is emphasized by a wide breadth of empirical data, heavy social media use is connected to an array of unwanted physiological outcomes, and can be detrimental to an individual’s mental health and overall well-being.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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