Social media addiction: is excessive use comparable to drug addiction?

Social media addiction: is excessive use comparable to drug addiction?
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Should excessive use be characterised as a social media addiction a possibility? Is it comparable to drug addiction, in terms of impairing decision-making?

Michigan State University investigated the link between excessive use of social media and impaired decision-making, to determine the potential similarity between drug addiction and what some may call a social media addiction.

Is excessive social media use comparable to drug addiction?

Impaired decision-making is often associated with gambling or drug addiction. The new research suggests that excessive use of social media is also associated with risky decision-making capabilities.

Dar Meshi, lead author and assistant professor at MSU, said: “Decision making is oftentimes compromised in individuals with substance use disorders. They sometimes fail to learn from their mistakes and continue down a path of negative outcomes. But no one previously looked at this behavior as it relates to excessive social media users, so we investigated this possible parallel between excessive social media users and substance abusers. While we didn’t test for the cause of poor decision-making, we tested for its correlation with problematic social media use.”

‘Social media addiction’ – is it a serious issue?

In Meshi’s opinion, the overuse of social media should be taken seriously. Meshi commented: “Around one-third of humans on the planet are using social media, and some of these people are displaying maladaptive, excessive use of these sites. Our findings will hopefully motivate the field to take social media overuse seriously.”

He added: “With so many people around the world using social media, it’s critical for us to understand its use. I believe that social media has tremendous benefits for individuals, but there’s also a dark side when people can’t pull themselves away. We need to better understand this drive so we can determine if excessive social media use should be considered an addiction.”

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