Rehab Admissions In The UK For Social Media Addiction On The Rise

Social media addiction is increasing in rehab facilities, and experts think it should be treated similarly to gambling addiction.

The UK Addiction Treatment Centre, which claims to be the country’s largest private drug and alcohol rehab service, says it is seeing an increase in cases and receiving calls from parents seeking help.

Addiction to social media treatment increased from zero in 2017 to roughly 50 in 2020, according to the group of eight private rehab clinics throughout the UK. 

CEO Eytan Alexander told inews, "we get at least ten calls a week from anxious parents seeking for aid and advice for their children because they worry their kids are addicted to social media.”...

Because social media-related stress is rare, Public Health England does not yet recognize a formal addiction to websites or apps.

“It is definitely growing, but we encourage anyone who feels they need help to seek it,” Mr Alexander added.

Experts are currently studying how to treat social media addiction, which is new. Some psychologists spoke to inews and indicated they thought the problem was only being treated by a few people globally.

However, doctors treating patients are learning from gambling addiction.

“Sex addiction and social media addiction are undoubtedly comparable,” Mr Alexander added. “Treatment addresses similar coping techniques and trigger recognitions since it would be foolish to imagine there is no overlap.”

Pamela Roberts, an addictions psychotherapist at the Priory, said she has treated a few people for social media addiction.

“Extensive social media tools and ease of access are extremely helpful,” she remarked. “However, when the behavior becomes obsession, it can cause negative mood, bodily and emotional reactions, psychological issues, and severe sleep deprivation.”

The similarities are evident, according to Mark Griffiths, a social media addiction expert at Nottingham Trent University.

Theoretically, additional actions may be considered addictive if gambling is accepted as a legitimate addiction. This means they prioritize social media over academics, university, or career, and suffer withdrawal symptoms if they can’t access it.

“They utilize it to change their mood, either to become high or excited, or to flee, de-stress or relax. Also, if these people manage to avoid social media, they immediately re-enter the cycle.”

“I believe a substantial majority of social media users are quite habitual, even if they are not addictive.”

*inews changed name to preserve privacy

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