While it remains to be seen when and if Internet Addiction will make it into the DSM, the characteristics of pathological internet use are very similar to the ones listed for “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders”: Social media invites us to compare ourselves with others.
For people with self-esteem issues and insecurities, hearing about other people’s happiness and successes can deepen feelings of inferiority.
Whenever there’s a significant technological advance that fundamentally changes the way people live, it generates debate over the nature of that change and whether it’s “good” or “bad.” Internet-based, social media tools like email, Facebook, and You Tube that have revolutionized the way human beings get information and communicate and interact with one another.
In the relatively short time, they’ve been in existence, social media has had some very positive effects in terms of empowering and connecting people.
Regardless of where a person lives, it’s possible to find others who share the same interests and concerns.
Social media has exponentially increased the resources for mental health information and support.There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support either assessment; however, research into the effects of social media is still in its infancy, so scientific data are relatively scarce.What is clear is that the internet, social media sites, and the digital devices on which they operate are here to stay.But it has still proved problematic, especially for adults who are prone to addictive behavior or have pre-existing mental health issues. Internet addiction is not officially listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the mental health profession’s guide to classifying psychological disorders.However, in the recently revised DSM-5, “Internet Gaming Disorder” is mentioned as “a condition warranting more clinical research and experience” for possible inclusion as a “formal disorder.” Lack of formal recognition hasn’t stopped people from referring to compulsive internet use—for gaming or any other reason—as an “addiction.” Several recent studies seem to support this conclusion, including brain imaging studies of compulsive internet users that have shown structural and functional brain abnormalities similar to those found in people with substance abuse problems.Social media is detrimental to face-to-face interaction.It’s hard not to be concerned when you see a group of people sitting together, each engrossed in his or her own smartphone or i Pad constantly scrolling through their news feed.Key to enjoying the benefits while avoiding the problems is to use these powerful tools sensibly, constructively, and in moderation.Like food, which we truly can’t live without, the right choices in the right amounts keep people healthy and satisfied, while poor choices and excess consumption can lead to significant, potentially life-threatening health conditions.It’s easy to forget that social media posts, like photos of air-brushed models in magazines, can present an idealized, heavily edited version of what’s actually going on.In addition, some determine their self-worth based on their number of Facebook friends or how many likes, shares, or other interactions they receive.