An addiction is a dependence on substances or activities that are harmful to health or psychological equilibrium. These activities include, for example, playing video games — already classed as an illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO) — an obsession with work, on and off-line gaming, and, for many also, the excessive use of social media which in fact now have over 3 billion active users throughout the world. Nevertheless, despite these overblown figures, experts believe that only a small percentage of those 3 billion exhibit a real dependence on social media.

Amongst the most widely-recognised causes of addiction to social media are low self-esteem, personal dissatisfaction, depression and hyperactivity, and even lack of affection, a deficiency that adolescents frequently try to replace with the famous likes. In fact, many young people seek them out almost compulsively to experience an intense — but always fleeting — feeling of satisfaction that nevertheless can be counter-productive by making them dependent, in the long term, on the opinions of others.

The usual profile of the addict is a young person aged between 16 and 24. Adolescents are at the highest risk of falling into addiction, experts say, for three basic reasons: their tendency to be impulsive, their need for a widespread and growing social influence, and finally, the necessity for them to reaffirm their group identity.

The risks might be related to how much social media teens use. A 2019 study of more than 6,500 12- to 15-year-olds. found that those who spent more than three hours a day using social media might be at heightened risk for mental health problems. Another 2019 study of more than 12,000 13- to 16-year-olds in England found that using social media more than three times a day predicted poor mental health and well-being in teens.

Other studies also have observed links between high levels of social media use and depression or anxiety symptoms. A 2016 study of more than 450 teens found that greater social media use, nighttime social media use and emotional investment in social media — such as feeling upset when prevented from logging on — were each linked with worse sleep quality and higher levels of anxiety and depression.

If you think your teen is experiencing signs or symptoms of anxiety or depression related to social media use, consult an expert of the field or a psychiatrist. With Serene Retreat as your Rehabilitation guide, you will find everything while focusing on attention to details and considering the individual issues, concerns and preferences to ensure that the person gets his or her healthy lifestyle back.

Serene Retreat is one of the leading Addiction and Mental Health Treatment provider based in Malaysia with its branches locally and abroad. For more information about our treatment programs you can reach us via Call/Whatsapp +60 14-687 2268 or visit our website

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