Social Media Addiction is Real and Scary, But Treatable
It's the guy who posts random thoughts five times per day, or the teen who needs to snap a selfie whenever the lighting is right, or the woman who finds it necessary to "check in" every time she steps foot into the gym or a fancy restaurant.
And they're waiting with bated breath to watch the comments and likes and shares roll in. Without them, how could they possibly be happy?
While there is no official diagnosis for addiction to social media, it's something experts in the field are becoming quite familiar with.
"A lot of it has to do with self esteem and self worth," said Andrew Green, a licensed clinical social worker who runs the Mental Health & Addiction Wellness Center in Lakewood.
According to Green, many people post even the most trivial things - from random thoughts to pictures of their meals - just to get approval from the outside world, which is now available with a click of the mouse or cell phone.
"It is something that needs to be dealt with, though, because somebody who's truly healthy wouldn't need to always look externally to feel good about themselves, to feel confident about themselves," he said.
You may be surprised to learn how many help options are available for folks who are admittedly addicted to social media.
Therapy, from licensed professionals like Green, is the most common option of the bunch, but for those who need more than a one-on-one session, support groups do exist.
Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous lets users search, online ironically, for meetings with others who can't stay away from the keyboard. The group also features a 12-step program adopted from Alcoholics Anonymous.
And in the most extreme cases, Green said, "internet detox" is available.
"You're in a place where there's no digital components whatsoever," he said. "You'll probably go through some withdrawal symptoms - irritability, fidgetiness, and possibly lack of sleep."
Click here to learn more about the signs and symptoms of Internet addiction.