Checking social media has quickly become part of our daily routine, almost as normal as it is to brush our teeth. Social media use has issues similar to substance abuse, and its effect on the brain is eerily similar to the high you receive when gambling. The addictive quality leads to multiple research studies highlighting the relationship between mental health and social media use. Findings show a direct correlation between the amount of time spent on social media and the increase in mental illnesses and negative side effects, including depression, anxiety, stress, suicide ideation, eating disorders, and insomnia.
The steady stream of retweets, likes, and offers from these users prompt the cerebrum’s prize region to trigger a similar response as seen with drugs like cocaine. Due to social media’s effect on the brain, it is addictive both physically and psychologically, affecting the user’s decision-making. As shown in our system map, when an individual gets a notification such as a like or a mention, the brain receives a surge of dopamine and sends it along reward pathways, leading the individual to feel gratification. This gratification makes the users want to engage in the activity of posting content and engaging with social media more often.