Social Media Has Similar Effects of Drug Use?

Last week, we talked about Nomophobia – a loosely-coined fear of losing one’s cell phone. Social media is a beast all its own, but one that’s certainly connected to our affinity for the smart phone…

Facebook has one billion users. Twitter has 500 million. Youtube has four billion views a day. You can see why researchers have been working to explain why people are obsessed with interacting with one another via social media.

According to Mashable, Harvard University research discovered that “self-disclosure spurs the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with rewarding feelings. The same study cites research that found 80% of social media posts are self-reflective, compared to 30-40% of speech during verbal conversation.”

Dopamine is the brain’s neurotransmitter that also sparks the sensation of pleasure during cocaine, heroin and meth use.


This infograph shows some of the findings regarding the “addictive nature of social media usage.”

  1. The average Facebook user spends 405 minutes per month on the site – equal to 81 hours a year!
  2. In a study of people ages 18-85, social media sites presented overall stronger urges than things like sex, sleep and smoking.
  3. 56% say they wouldn’t take a job that didn’t allow access to social media.


With further research, social media addiction may one day make it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

How often do you use social media during a given week?

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