Are you addicted to your iPhone?

A flutter in your chest when you receive a message from your significant other. A rush of excitement when you receive a notification on Facebook. The feeling of dread when you realize you've left your phone at home. We've all been there- but can somebody really be "addicted" to their phones and/or social media? Can our phones have a negative impact no our mental health? Let's discuss.

1. Researchers have found that prolonged use of social networking sites may be related to signs and symptoms of depression

In addition, researchers have found that individuals who use multiple social media sites have poorer concentration and difficulty with cognitive tasks. This may be due to the frequent switching from one social media application to the other and may have implications for shorter attention spans.

Anybody with a smartphone can have instant access to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instgram, etc. This is both a positive and a negative thing. You have unlimited access to social media, which may reinforce feelings of inadequacy and comparison thoughts. This can be a combination that leads to symptoms of depression, feelings of sadness, and low self-esteem.

2. Currently, you cannot be diagnosed with social media or internet addiction

The DSM-V, which is the diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals, does not currently include social media or internet addiction. However, researchers are interested in the implications of social media on mental health. Studies have found that sudden cessation of social networking for chronic social media users may cause symptoms similar to those found when an individual begins to withdrawal from nicotine, narcotics, and alcohol. Despite being unable to officially diagnose internet or social media addiction, there are researchers and mental health providers who are investigating the implications and treating individuals who struggle with what they perceive as an internet addiction.

3. There are options

I specialize in treating process addictions, or behavioral addictions such as social media and internet use. Social media can be hard to separate from and it's important to remember that social media is not a bad thing in and of itself. There are many positive aspects and ways that social media is positive. However, if you believe that your relationship with social media is problematic, then it probably is.

I work with my clients to explore the underlying reasons that they compulsively use social media. This may involve working on other mental health concerns like self-esteem and anxiety. I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to examine the client's behavioral patterns and work together to find a way to interrupt the cycle.

 

References:

http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.1b16

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183915/

 

Emily Teegarden