obsessive social media use

Compulsive Social Media Use Treatment

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unhealthy social media use

Compulsive Social Media Use

Social media can be a fun and entertaining way to stay updated on our friends’ lives and share our own life with others. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok offer us spaces to share snippets of our lives, adventures, and stories with our friends and family and stay connected. These sites and the services they offer us can become addicting, though. Social media offers us the chance to connect with the greater world around us and stay informed and entertained. Still, overuse of these social sites can lead to compulsive social media use. 

Even though compulsive social media use isn’t officially recognized as a mental health disorder yet, there is growing evidence to suggest that it is becoming a growing problem, particularly for the younger generation. Like just about every other fun activity, social media becomes dangerous to our mental health when it’s overused or overindulged.

Posting, scrolling, and interacting on social media can give us a fun rush of excitement, validation, or inclusion. Social media has also been linked to negative self-worth, depression, and anxiety. How we interact with and how consumed we are by social media can affect the kind of feelings we get in response to using such popular everyday sites.

CTRLCare offers CBT and DBT in New Jersey for mental health. If you feel that you or a loved one has a toxic relationship with social media use, contact the CTRLCare Wellness team at (609) 8066-5194 to see how CTRLCare in Princeton, NJ, can offer you personalized guidance and evidence-based treatment.

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When Social Media Use Becomes a Problem

Social media use is deemed a problem when it interrupts your ability to function normally in your everyday life. If you find yourself unable to tear your eyes away from the screen, ignoring your responsibilities to scroll, or constantly refreshing your posts and feeds, you may have an unhealthy relationship with social media. While social media can be a great way to connect with those around us, it can also set us up for feelings of inadequacy and isolation. 

Social media can set us up to negatively compare ourselves to others. Posts and images on social media can be edited and modified to create “idealistic” versions of people that are not realistic or physically achievable. This can create issues with self-esteem, breed negative self-image or self-worth, and lead to disordered eating or other unhealthy habits. This can be significantly damaging for developing youths who are still navigating who they are and who they want to be, shaping their view of themselves.

Compulsive social media use is an unofficial behavioral disorder. Addictions like compulsive social media use develop when the behavior, in this case, scrolling and posting on social media, is tied to a variable-reward system. A variable-reward system is when you get different responses to the same behavior. For example, on one post you may get 300 likes, which gives you a happy warm fuzzy feeling, but on the next post you only get 50 likes, leaving you with a more isolated, ignored nasty feeling. There is no way to know which one of your actions will bring the next happy warm fuzzy feeling. So we get caught up in chasing those positive emotions, and subsequently become addicted to using social media platforms.

This reward system in our brain that becomes activated when we interact with others on social media can become overly reliant on social media to provide that hit of dopamine (the happy chemical in the brain). Children and adolescents can be particularly susceptible to a social media compulsion because their brains are still developing and growing. As we age into adolescence, the reward system in the brain becomes activated and develops faster, meaning they can get more of that warm fuzzy dopamine as they interact with social media. The self-control center of the brain is not fully developed until we reach 21, though. This gap in development where the reward system is in overdrive and the self-control center is still underdeveloped means that teens are at high risk for developing compulsive social media use. Combine that fact with the turmoil that is adolescence, a time for self-discovery and the development of self-worth and self-image, and you can imagine how damaging a negative relationship with social media can be for a young developing mind. A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has found that teenagers who use social media for more than three hours per day are at a heightened risk of developing mental health problems. Overuse of social media can literally rewire a young child or adolescent’s brain to constantly seek out immediate gratification, which can lead to compulsive social media use.

CTRLCare in Princeton, NJ, is a premier behavioral health facility located in Princeton, NJ, specializing in toxic technology use. If you are seeking treatment for obsessive compulsive social media disorder, call CTRLCare at (609) 8066-5194 to see how CTRLCare can offer you personalized guidance and evidence-based treatment.

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We work with most major insurance plans that offer out-of-network benefits. We offer a free verification process so you know your options when seeking mental health treatment in Princeton. Our team will let you know what works best for your individual needs.

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the signs & symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Compulsive Social Media Use

So what marks the difference between scrolling for fun and doom-scrolling (obsessively scrolling for hours on end)? While there are no official diagnosis criteria for compulsive social media use, the signs and symptoms can present themselves very similarly to other behavioral addictions. 

Some common signs and symptoms of compulsive social media use are:

    • Constantly checking social media platforms.
    • Ignoring responsibilities and other hobbies to be on social media.
    • Hearing notifications or feeling your phone vibrate when it really didn’t.
    • Overthinking your social media posts or spending an excessive amount of time curating your page.
    • Feeling anxious when you aren’t able to check social media.
    • Constantly refreshing your posts to see how many likes/interactions/comments they get.
    • Comparing yourself negatively to others on social media.

Read Our Success Stories.

I knew they were the place for me.

When I realized I reached the point I needed a more intensive therapy program, I called around to many places in the Princeton area. While our area is luckily filled with incredible facilities, there is something different about this one. It even seems wrong to call it a facility. The first phone call I had with them already made me feel welcome, and while my need to attend a place like this isn't pleasant, they made the experience so much more human and conversational. Devin

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Inviting and calming space to explore different ways to manage mental health and wellness. You can ensure that you are not just another number and that your care will be individualized while in their care. Sarah

CTRLCare provides an excellent starting place

The world of psychotherapy can be a confusing, even overwhelming, place for a person seeking competent help and credible information.CTRLCare provides an excellent starting place for gathering key information to make informed decisions about mental and behavioral health care. I'm honored to have been invited to be a client and glad to have their network available for myself, friends and family interested in advancing mental health and Behavioral care knowledge and practice. Alexander

Amazing staff!

Elina and her staff are so great! My whole intake experience was a breeze and I do not feel like just a number. Elina and her staff make you feel very comfortable and are great at addressing all your needs and really care about the patient and their well being! I would 100 recommended them to anyone that is looking for counseling or help in the area. I feel like I made the right decision choosing CTRLCARE for my provider and I hope you will too! Danielle C.

Learn more about all our programs and services and how it can help you or a loved one overcome mental health and technology wellness challenges.

To discuss our programs in more detail, contact our CTRLCare Wellness Team.

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Compulsive Social Media Use Treatment in New Jersey

Treatment for compulsive social media use is accessible and effective at CTRLCare in Princeton, New Jersey. CTRLCare is a premier behavioral healthcare facility in Princeton, NJ, that specializes in treating problematic online behaviors, like compulsive social media use. They utilize evidence-based therapies, such as art and music therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Family Systems Therapy, that are proven to help get behavioral addiction disorders under control so that you can get back to living and thriving in your best life. CTRLCare is a mental health treatment center in Princeton, New Jersey.

If you are interested in seeking treatment for social media addiction in New Jersey, contact CTRLCare at (609) 8066-5194 to see how CTRLCare can offer you personalized guidance and evidence-based treatment.

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Contact the CTRL Care Wellness Team

Focused on evidence-based therapies and integrated wellness programs, the unique, hybrid approach at CTRLCare Behavioral Health is designed to meet the needs and goals of the individual. For personalized treatment that addresses the mind, body, and spirit, contact CTRLCare Behavioral Health today.