As social media has become an important part of most people’s lives it may be difficult to recognise when it may start to become a problem.

Social media use starts to become an addiction when the behaviour becomes excessive and compulsive. It is described as an uncontrollable urge to scroll on social media. Ultimately, when you spend so much time concerned about social media that it starts to have a negative impact on your daily life.


Social media is addictive both physically and psychologically. According to a new study by Harvard University, self-disclosure on social networking sites lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when taking an addictive substance. The reward area in the brain and its chemical messenger pathways affect decisions and sensations.

Like other addictions, using social media can release the brain chemical, dopamine, this in turn creates a feeling of happiness. The individual may crave that feeling over and over again and consequently start to become addicted to the behaviour that makes them feel that way (in this case, using social media).

Similar to other addictions repeated usage can build up an individual’s tolerance to achieving the happy or pleasurable feeling that may get from using social media. This leads to individuals having to spend more and more time on social media to get feel any reward.