The pandemic has taught us that life hides surprises and that our time is precious to be spent on cell phone screens and the virtual reality of “social media”, which should rather be renamed addictive “social media”, the psychiatrist points out. Associate Professor of Pharmacology at AUTh George Papazisis.
Answering questions about how social media affects our brains, how their use is linked to dopamine, the brain’s reward system, addictive behaviors and depression, he says:
“Studies show that social media essentially ‘re-wires’ our brains so that we can expect immediate satisfaction. In other words, when we receive a notification, a message, a like or a share, we expect a quick but short-term pleasure / reward, because the brain will produce a “dopamine hit”. Given the very fast pace of the social media world, the reward pathways in our brains are changing and there is a growing demand for attention, perpetuating an addictive mentality. The stimuli that our brain receives are extremely fast and intense, with the result that it responds with changes similar to those observed in other addictive stimuli or substances “.
According to Mr. Papazisis, the addictive nature of social media is described as analogous to the addictive nature of gambling. “Whether we are on Instagram, TikTok, youtube or a similar platform, we are constantly scrolling from one video to another. A video 5 to a maximum of 10 seconds after the next and before we realize it, we’ve spent the last hour watching random videos– but we can’t stop. We are constantly looking for a new, more intense stimulus “.
What happens when we do not receive a like, a message or some kind of “reward”?
“The stories of teenagers’ use of social media have likened internet attention to popularity. Similarly, the lack of constant attention on social media has created a vicious circle of anxiety, loneliness and depression, due to the failure to receive a “virtual” reward. Overall, social media can be harmful, distorting our self-image, and while social media platforms seem to help us connect, they can also make us feel isolated, lower our self-esteem, and lower our overall sense of self-worth. wellness. And in addition, let’s look at our mobile statistics, how much time we spend on our screen each day, and we will understand that we do not have to wait for the pandemic restrictions to end: leave mobile and social aside now, go out, walk, go for a walk in nature and meet your loved ones! “The pandemic has taught us that life hides surprises and that our time is precious to spend on mobile screens and the virtual reality of ‘social media’, which should rather be renamed addictive ‘social media’,” he said. Papazisis.
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