It’s a tricky subject to talk about.
We can’t really talk about what it is to be addicted to social media, because the term is not well defined.
Some of the issues we’re concerned with include: What is addiction?
What does it mean to be an addicted person?
What is the recovery process?
How do we manage social media?
How does social media affect our relationships?
These are questions that are complex, and are often difficult to get a handle on.
The goal is to find a clear definition of addiction, so we can begin to understand the issue, Dr. Michael Reis, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told CBS News.
“We’re seeing more and more research that the problem of addiction is a complex phenomenon that goes beyond a single addiction, and that people are struggling with it,” Reis said.
In some cases, addiction may not be a mental illness at all, but something that happens when we use addictive drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or other substances, Reis explained.
“When we’re exposed to these substances, it’s called addiction,” Rees said.
“The problem with addiction is not just the addiction itself, but it’s the addictive effects of the substance,” he added.
In addition to being a complex subject, addiction is also difficult to understand.
It is a disorder that is a result of the brain’s wiring.
For example, a person may have a genetic predisposition to addiction, but the brain is not designed to be able to distinguish between these genes and the genetic predispositions of someone without having a genetic disease.
The brain doesn’t have the capacity to distinguish genetic predisposing traits from those of the environment, Rees explained.
When you add these factors to the fact that the brain can’t distinguish between a drug addiction and a genetic disorder, it makes it extremely difficult to tell if someone is addicted or not.
So what is addiction, exactly?
Reis told CBSNews.com that addiction refers to a mental disorder that occurs when we experience an increase in craving, for example, or craving for certain types of food, Reus said.
The word “addiction” comes from the Greek words “addos” and “addis,” which means “to eat.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 100 people will be addicted at some point in their lives.
The CDC defines addiction as a disorder where the person experiences a heightened desire to use a substance that they previously would not have used.
It can include drug addiction, compulsive behavior, or gambling.
In general, an addicted individual will seek out new substances to use, such as drugs and alcohol, in order to meet their drug or alcohol craving.
Some people, however, will simply not experience addiction.
Dr. Michael DeGroot, who specializes in psychiatry at Emory University School and is an addiction specialist, told the Associated Press in an email that addiction is something that occurs as part of a person’s brain.
“Addiction can occur in a variety of different ways and has been observed in the brain of both healthy people and those with psychiatric conditions,” he wrote.
The problem of social media use is a good example of this, Reisen said.
A person who is addicted to a drug, or alcohol, will not experience an urge to use the substance but will seek it out.
If they don’t succeed in using it, they will attempt to use other substances.
When they do succeed in the use of those substances, they may also become dependent on those substances.
“This is where it gets complicated,” Reiss said.
Reis said the main difference between people who use social media and people who do not is that the former are “coping with their addiction” while the latter are in a “continuing pattern of behavior.”
When we say addicted, we’re not talking about someone who’s dependent on a substance, Reiss added.
“It’s a person who has been exposed to a substance and that substance is addictive.”
Reis and DeGroots said the key to dealing with addiction involves a healthy relationship with social media.
People who use their devices to interact with others often have a limited vocabulary, so it’s important to understand how to use them, he said.
We should be careful not to be overly judgmental of people who are addicted to these types of substances.
“When we use social networks, we need to take the time to understand that addiction has a negative impact on our relationships,” Reising said.