Social media addiction is a real thing, and it's on the rise

Social media addiction is a real thing, and experts are seeing more people dealing with it.

You can't go far without seeing someone on electronics these days. Some people might even say they are addicted.

But is social media addiction a real thing? Experts say yes, and they're seeing more and more people suffering from it.

The number of likes on Instagram. The comments you get on your Facebook post. If it seems, you can't get away from social media. You could have a problem.

"It tends to activate the rewards center of the brain in a way that cocaine use or alcohol use tends to activate the rewards center of the brain, increasing dopamine which is a pleasure chemical," said Dr. Lee Spencer, an addiction psychiatrist. "It works as the same phenomenon."

Spencer says the number of people looking for help is on the rise. The phenomenon of social media addiction is so new not much research has been done on the topic.

It's a subset of internet addiction, which according to the American Psychiatric Association, is characterized by someone's lack of control over the use of the internet.          

It leads to distress, mood changes, and social problems

"People that no longer connect with their families, they're starting to feel isolated, starting to feel depressed when they're not using some sort of social media outlet," said Spencer. "It starts to become pathological when we see people that are adding up and continuing use despite these consequences."

Those consequences also include impaired sleep and feelings of withdrawal when not compulsively checking social media.

Young people, singles, and those with low self-esteem or those who already have another addiction are most at risk.

But there is help, and taking a vacation from your devices may give you some insight as to how serious your situation may be.

Copyright 2016 KING


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