Rapid City counselor shares how to break social media addiction

Social media addictions have been fueled by politics and the pandemic.
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 2:38 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - On Saint Joseph and 6th Street, it’s not hard to find people paying attention to their phones and not much else.

Behind the wheel waiting for the light to turn green, on the corner waiting for a friend. But the story doesn’t end there. Health experts say spending more than two hours on social media per day can have negative consequences.

“A lot of what’s being shown on social media is very negative,” Alyssa Martin, a licensed addiction counselor with Black Hills Counselors, said. “So when people are consumed into the negativity, a lot of people are experiencing more anger, more depression, more stress.”

Martin says in recent months, many of her clients have become addicted to social media. The pandemic and political climate are contributing factors.

“It’s the biggest thing going on in our country right now,” Martin said. “People just want to be in the know about it.”

And she says the addiction can stem from a simple post on Instagram or Facebook and the response it gets.

“What it’s doing is it’s rewarding the part of the brain that releases dopamine,” Martin said. “That part of the addiction process.”

So which social media app is more addictive? Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Martin says it’s Facebook by far because most of her clients are on it nonstop.

Here are some tips to help break the habit:

  • Limit your social media use to one to two hours per day.
  • Set goals for yourself. For example, turn your phone off a few hours before you go to bed.
  • Engage more with your friends or family
  • Talk on the phone or do a Zoom call.

Martin says these small steps will go a long way.

“I have seen a lot of people that have set goals to limit their social media use or completely get off of it,” Martin said. “I have seen an increase in their boost in their mood or attitudes.”

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