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Home » industry research, News

Social media addiction recognized as official condition

Submitted by on February 13, 2013 – 9:52 amOne Comment

Joking about how much time we spend glued to social media has become a soundtrack to modern living, but now genuine addiction to the medium has been recognized as a very real and damaging affliction.

A study by the University of Chicago last year found that social media can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and that having content retweeted or liked produces a burst of addictive neurotransmitter dopamine. A lack of engagement from online friends, meanwhile, can prompt jealousy, anxiety and feelings of low self-esteem.

The Tavistock and Portman Clinic in London is one of the first to address this new addiction, currently treating around 100 addicts a year. Clinic psychiatrist Richard Graham says his patients range from children – usually teenage girls – to adults up to 35 years old.

“They start to miss or avoid doing the necessary things in life, even at a fundamental level of self-care. They delay eating or avoid eating or drinking, delay sleep, miss meetings or delay getting into work or college,” says Graham.

Warning signs for addiction include spending more than five hours a day on social media, so community managers and brand account executives must be watchful of their social media habits away from the workplace!

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