PUBLISHED APR 1, 2019

Social Media Addiction: How it Affects Your Brain

If you feel like scrolling through your social media feed is addictive, that’s because it is.

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If you feel like scrolling through your social media feed is addictive, that’s because it is.

Meet dopamine. It’s a chemical your brain releases to make you feel good — like when you drink alcohol, get that big promotion, or see someone you love. All of that can equal dopamine.

When you get a notification that someone liked your latest Insta photo, your body also produces dopamine.

Rewind a few thousand years back to the caveman era where humans lived in small groups. Our brains started to develop a “pack mentality.” If you were going to survive and not get eaten by a lion, you needed to be included in the pack.

Your brain evolved in a way to make sure you were always striving to be part of the group.

When everyone in your pack accepted you, your brain responded by releasing dopamine to make you happy. And if you were voted off the island, your body responded in a negative way (think fight or flight mode).

Our brains are still hard-wired the same way today.

Your social media feed is where your friends tell you they like your girlfriend, approve of your outfit, or think your nephew is cute. Their approval (or likes) gives you the pack approval your brain craves and it reenforces that with dopamine.

That’s what keeps you coming back for more. And it’s probably one reason why you felt like a celebrity when you got a record high number of likes on your vacation photo.


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