Youngsters so addicted to social media ‘they suffer withdrawal symptoms’

Inderdeep Bains
Daily Mail
2 Min Read
Shaking and sweating are key signs you may be addicted to social media.
Shaking and sweating are key signs you may be addicted to social media. Credit: Minty/Rawpixel.com - stock.adobe.com

Young people are displaying physical withdrawal symptoms from social media addiction similar to those of drug abusers, experts have warned.

One senior psychotherapist said sufferers will “shake and sweat” when they have their devices removed.

Tony Marini, an expert in behavioural addictions at the renowned Castle Craig rehab clinic in Scotland, told the Mail he has seen a ten-fold rise in social media addictions over the past decade.

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“People will have physical withdrawal symptoms similar to drug addicts, like shaking and sweating, when they have their devices taken away,’ he said.

“The ‘reward’ from social media hits receptors in the brain in the same way cocaine would. Users get a dopamine hit when they use platforms, which is addictive.”

Professor Phil Reed, a psychology lecturer at Swansea University who researches internet addiction, said social media platforms had all the components of a “designer drug”, adding: “It is designed to be addictive... people are struggling with it.”

He said those addicted displayed withdrawal symptoms within seconds of being separated from their devices.

“Our studies have shown that within 30 seconds of someone having their phone taken away they start to display physiological symptoms,” he said.

“Their heart rate will go up, their blood pressure will increase and they start sweating. They will not feel very good and the discomfort will persist for some time.

“When we have full psychometric tests we find about a third have a mild to moderate problem and about 10 per cent have a major problem.”

Professor Reed said children as young as 13 were now being affected.

“It used to be a problem for 18 to 25-year-olds but we are seeing it in people who are much younger and much older,” he said.

“They develop a tolerance and need social media more and more. They tend to withdraw from other activities and their school work, college or jobs will suffer.”

Both experts say excessive social media use will often lead to depression, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts.

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