Is social media your drug? Study likens social media to addictive drugs

BUZZ Fam, do you get a high off social media?

Do you find yourself constantly checking your social media, spending more than 2 hours on it, and getting withdrawn when you don’t have access to it?

Well, I hate to break it to you, but you might have a problem — a social media addiction problem.

A study conducted by the State Michigan University, compared excessive social media use to drug addiction. It showed that there was a connection between excessive social media use and impaired decision-making abilities.

The researchers had 71 participants take a survey that measured their psychological dependence on Facebook. These questions included how preoccupied users were when they used the platform, their feelings when they can’t use it, their attempts to quit, and the impact that the platform has had on their job or studies.

The researcher then had the participants do the Iowa Gambling Task. Psychologists use this test to measure decision-making. To successfully complete the task, users identify outcome patterns in decks of cards to choose the best possible deck.

And get this, BUZZ Fam, by the end of the gambling task, the people who use social media the most performed the worst. And the people who use social media less made better decisions.

Deficiency in decision making

In other words, the better the participants did in the task, the less their social media use. This is the same results as with substance abusers. People who abuse opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, among others, all have similar outcomes on the Iowa Gambling Task, thus showing the same deficiency in decision-making.

Social media effects on the brain

Harvard researchers have also delved into the issue, and they found that when an individual gets a notification, such as a like or mention, the brain receives a rush of dopamine and sends it along reward pathways. This causes him or her to feel pleasure. Therefore, the brain rewires itself through this positive reinforcement, making people desire likes, retweets, and emoticon reactions.