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Social Media Addiction in Kona: what You Should Know

Are you suffering from social media addiction in Kona? The advent of social media changed nearly everything about our culture. It revolutionized how, when, where, and even why we connect to other people. Whereas social media was previously used by a very small percentage of the population (and then only used minimally), it is now the most constant and common source of connection with over 4.62 billion people using it worldwide. As the presence of social media has grown in Hawaii and all over the world, many people have begun to ask “Do I spend too much time on social media?”. Maybe you have asked yourself this question, or maybe you have felt concern around it in someone you care about. Are you worried that you or someone you know is becoming addicted to it? It’s a valid question, a valid concern. Read on to explore this issue further.

What is social media addiction?

Social media addiction is not an officially recognized diagnosis as of yet. Officially, the DSM-V (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, used by medical professionals) deems social media addiction, or “Social Network Addiction”, as a “condition for further study”. However, it is an ever increasing problem, one which an estimated 330 million users will struggle with this year alone. So, while we wait for the experts to collect their data, let’s talk about the experience as it stands for hundreds of millions of people.

Social media addiction refers to a constant and compulsive preoccupation with social media. Simply put, a person addicted to social media in Kona cannot help but engage in it despite the negative consequences that follow. These negative consequences run the gamut from psychological, to physical, mental, and spiritual. A person struggling with their impulsive, uncontrollable use of social media can experience many of the same consequences as someone with any other addiction.

Signs and symptoms of social media addiction

  • Social media use has a favorable effect on emotions (meaning: a person seeks it out to “make themselves feel good”

  • Preoccupation with social media

  • Increased social media use over time

  • Feeling unpleasant emotions when not using social media

  • Interpersonal problems because of excessive use

  • Quickly reverting to the habit after abstaining

Why is social media addictive?

So what makes social media so addicting for people in Kona? What makes it different than, say, reading the newspaper?

There exists in every human brain something referred to as the “ reward or pleasure pathways”. Essentially, when a person does something that feels good, the pathway is activated, and they are rewarded with some “feel good chemicals”. When you are excited by seeing, hearing, feeling, or tasting something, that sense of excitement or joy activates dopamine production in the brain. It also triggers the release of serotonin. Both of these are important aspects of feeling happiness or pleasure. Now here is the really important part about this:

Whenever the reward pathway is activated, our brains realize that something important is happening. The whole point of the pathway is to recognize what triggered the “feel good” so that it can prompt you to seek out and repeat that action in the future so that the lovely feeling of pleasure can continue to be experienced over and over again.

This is the pathway that social media activates, which is the same pathway that can be activated by drug use, alcohol, gambling, love, food, and sex. And it is not by accident. The designers of social media platforms are very familiar with the science behind activating the reward systems. The sounds, icons, imagery, prompts, likes, scrolling….all of it is designed to ignite your reward system and hook you. And because of the way the brain is designed, the more you activate the release of dopamine, the more you have to continue to activate it to try to get that same effect. Essentially, you have to use it more and more and more to get even a little bit of the pleasure you are seeking. What use to feel good immediately, might take much longer, or eventually might stop working. But by the time people get into this loop, they are generally in the realm of addiction and can’t seem to help but trying desperately to get that old “feel good” sensation back.

And because it can be addicting, it also has a plethora of negative effects. These effects, perhaps small at first, may become worse if left unchecked. For instance, you will have an increased desire to use social media. And if you cannot use it, it stresses you out. Thus, the body produces more cortisol or stress hormone. And because increasing levels of this hormone can become toxic and affect your immune system, you can even start to suffer major health issues. So, what started as an increased desire to log on, can eventually manifest as deeply concerning physical problems.

The problems relating to social media addiction are myriad. Too much social media use can reduce your attention span; with so many options that you can engage with simultaneously, it can be challenging to remain focused. It can cause rifts between you and people you love if you can’t be present with them without having to engage with your platforms. It can cause loss of sleep due to an inability to turn it off at night, car accidents or fines from having to use it while driving, or cause severe depression. Many people find they are unable to enjoy their real life outside of the screen, feeling like their life only counts if it is being posted and shared about. These are just a few of the many side effects of social media addiction.

Social media addiction facts and statistics

Treatment for social media addiction in Kona

The social media addiction facts and statistics shown above are alarming, to say the least. If you or your loved one feel like they suffering from it, the time to act is now. Social media addiction must be addressed before it gets worse.

You can try to reduce the time you spend engaging in social media. But aside from that, you can also seek professional help. There are experts who can help people recover from social media addiction.

People who suffer from this addiction will need a safe place away from the temptation of social media and the fear of missing out. Honu House Hawaii can provide that for you. Here, we can help you or your loved one on the path to recovery. Not only will you be given an individualized plan for treatment, including coping mechanisms, professional medical sessions, health and wellness treatments, and a safe place to recover without that temptation, you will be a part of a loving and supportive community and your time will be filled with fun, exciting, rewarding experiences. Reach out to us today to get back to living your best life.