Social Media Recognized as an Official Addiction
Social Media Addiction?
Recently in the United Kingdom, addiction to social media has been recognized as an official condition that psychiatric clinics have been treating. In 2012, the University of Chicago in the United States conducted a study which stated that social media can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.1 In fact, other research has shown that when a person’s status receives a “like” or a “re-tweet,” the brain lets out a burst of dopamine due to the positive recognition, and this becomes addictive.1 On the other hand, a status that doesn’t promote recognition is met with jealousy and anxiety.1 Therefore, posting will increase until they receive the attention they are craving.1
A Study of Social Media Addiction in Germany
The study examined 205 people in Germany who participated in a week-long study regarding their desire to access social media. They were polled seven times per day and asked whether or not they felt a desire to view social media in the past 30 minutes.3 If so, did they give in to their desires? Mostly, yes, and usually to social media websites.3 The full study has yet to be published in Psychological Science, but will be soon.3
Addiction to social media is characterized as spending more than five hours per day on a social media website.1 Social media begins to overtake the person’s life, and their daily responsibilities begin to suffer neglect.1 Many who show signs of addiction log in to their favorite sites as soon as their smart phone beeps with an update, and others obsessively check for new happenings or responses to their statuses and become so consumed they are unable to function normally. Anxiety will flare when a site is temporarily down or they cannot receive access for a certain period of time.3
Overcoming Social Media Addiction
In order to treat social media addiction, abstinence from all social media is required as the first step, replacing time spent on social websites with organized activities.1 Then, psychologists are able to pinpoint the reasons why patients are drawn to social media, as they begin to crave it.1 Often, it is treated with behavioral interventions.1
 RTÉ. (2013, February 12). Social media addiction recognised as official condition. RTÉ Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from http://www.rte.ie/news/special-reports/2013/0212/367408-social-media-addiction-recognised-as-official-condition/
 Epstein, Z. (2013, February 6). Facebook and Twitter are more addictive than cigarettes or alcohol, study finds. Fox News. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/02/06/facebook-and-twitter-are-more-addictive-than-cigarettes-or-alcohol-study-finds/
 Lepi, K. (2012, October 16). 10 Signs You’re Addicted To Social Media. Edudemic. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from http://edudemic.com/2012/10/social-media-addiction/ social media.