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Social Media - The New Addication

posted 11 Feb 2013, 06:10 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 11 Feb 2013, 06:11 ]

Gemini Adams is a self-confessed addict.

Not drugs, not alcohol, but Facebook.

AUTHOR AND FORMER FACEBOOK ADDICT GEMINI ADAMS, 

"I'd signed up to every aspect of Facebook. and was utilising every sort of part of it. Checking in whereever I went and I remember just feeling really kind of revolting and just, you know, gnarled up inside physically because I hadn't been exercising. And I was just in this position, hunched over a computer and you know my eyesight was worse."

Yoga is part of Gemini's digital detox.

She won't use Facebook now for more than half an hour at a time - and once a week she'll go 24 hours straight without internet altogether.

 AUTHOR AND FORMER FACEBOOK ADDICT GEMINI ADAMS, 

"That little sensation would come up that would be oh I'l just see if anyone's commented on that thing I wrote this morning. I used to be a smoker and it's very similar to that sort of sensation of needing to have something, needing to go do something."

Social media is now a recognised addiction.

A study last year by the University of Chicago found it can even be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.

RESEARCH SHOWS..Likes and retweets give users a burst of the addictive neurotransmitter dopamine.

But a LACK of endorsements can provoke jealousy and anxiety.

So how much is too much?

REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT SAYING:

"Psychiatrists say the alarm bells start to ring if you're looking at Facebook and Twittermore than 10 times a day. And if that amounts to more than 5 hours, then you might have a problem."

And it's a lot more common than you might think.../ but some aren't willing to admit it.

 VOX POPS...

"How many hours a day are you on Facebook and Twitter?"

"What if I told you that meant you were addicted?"

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Richard Graham treats around 100 social media addicts a year at this clinic in London.

His patients range from as young as 10 to 35.

DR RICHARD GRAHAM, NHS TAVISTOCK AND PORTMAN CLINIC, 

"They start to miss or avoid doing the necessary things in life, even at a fundamental level of self-care. They delay eating or avoid eating or drinking, delay sleep, miss meetings or delay getting into work or college. There are certainly some young people easily passing 9, 10 hours a day using social media."

Treatment begins with complete abstinence.

But in today's increasingly connected world, switching off may be a lot harder than it sounds.


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