Social media addicts risk mental health challenges- Expert

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A Clinical Psychologist, Adedotun Ajiboye has warned that addiction to social media can cause both mental and physical health challenges.

Ajiboye, a staff of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday.

The Clinical Psychologist said that social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, google, WhatsApp, Facebook could either make or mar an individual.

He said “Basically, `addiction’ to social media makes it a bad phenomenon.

“People who are addicted to social media may experience both physical and mental health problem.

“Social media addiction is a real phenomenon that may be difficult to overcome because smartphones as one of the objects of addiction are being carried about wherever people go.

He added “It becomes harder to escape the Internet because people often have access to their phones.

“Any addiction is potentially harmful because it robs you of the opportunity to be devoted to other activities, such as offline relationships, daily work, and physical activity”.

He identified social anxiety as one of the mental health consequences of social media addiction.

According to him, social anxiety is the inability to relate with other people considering that it has displaced offline relationships.

Ajiboye stated that another consequence of social media addiction is emotional suppression or denial, a situation, which makes people to disguise that all is well on social media.

He added that other mental consequences are stress, lack of sleep, cyber bullying (such as critical comments), and peer pressure (the fear of missing out).

Ajiboye said that one of the physical health challenges of social media addiction was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which is the wrist, hands or fingers being strained.

He listed others to include eye problems, lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle, loss of valuable sleep due to social media leading to fatigue and distraction explaining that a person could get hurt when they text and walk.

He added that one of the ways to overcome social media addiction was to first identify that there was a problem with social media, noting that discovery brought about recovery.

He said “Live a purpose-driven life. Do not live by chance, live for a course or vision. Also, seek professional advice to overcome social media addiction.

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