Addicted to social media? 7 ways to know

Social media anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that is similar to social anxiety disorder.

Before he committed suicide in June, 29-year-old YouTube star and model Desmond Amofah, also known as Etika, filmed himself offering insight on the effects of social media. One comment he made was shared widely after his death: “It can give you an image of what you want your life to be and get blown completely out of proportion. It consumed me.”

Health professionals are taking notice. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America asserted in November: “Social media anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that is similar to social anxiety disorder.”

Facebook turned 15 this year, and its launch spurred a host of other social media avenues: Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. Marketwatch.com last August declared “People spend most of their waking hours staring at screens,” and shared a Nielsen report stating that American adults spend more than 11 hours a day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media. The amount of time spent focusing on social media increased from nine hours, 32 minutes, just four earlier.

Verywellmind.com in July listed several social media addiction indicators, including these seven:

1. More time than intended is spent viewing social media.
2. Friends and family members convey concern.
3. Actual time spent on social media is hidden or lied about.
4. Conversations and time spent in the company of others is regularly interrupted to check social media.
5. Interest in activities outside of social media wanes or disappears.
6. Important responsibilities — work, school, family — are neglected.
7. Attempts to withdraw from social media (or if social media is not available) result in anger, hostility, tension and/or depression.

Verywellmind.com offered a warning and encouragement: “Internet addiction can have devastating effects on individuals, families and particularly growing children and teens. Getting help may be challenging but can make a huge difference to your quality of life.”

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