A common trait associated to compulsive gamblers or drug addicts, is being bad at decision making, though what about the ones who has an excessive habit of social media usage? Recently, researchers have found a connection of impaired risky decision-making with the usage of social media. Something, the generally lacks in addiction of substance.

A research carried out at Michigan State University stated that people indulged in excessive use if web pages like Twitter and Facebook displayed common signs as those of substance addicts; impairment in decision making.

A gambling experiment by U.S scientists identifying the worst performers highlighted those individuals that were hooked to applications of social media like Facebook. Explicitly, addicts of drugs like heroin and cocaine tend to exhibit the same trend.

This is the first research on such a topic relating to capabilities of decision making to social media, which again highlights the impact social media usage can have on mental health. This study has highlighted the link the risky decision-making has with social media usage, a common trait associated with drug addicts.

Decision-making is generally lacked in individuals that have disorders like substance using. At times, they aren’t able to learn by the mistakes already made and end up following the path with incorrect outcomes. However, this behaviour relating to social media usage was never looked upon by anyone before; therefore we investigated the possibility of the parallel or link of substance abusers to excessive usage of social media. The motive of testing was not identifying the root cause of bad decision making, the study tested it correlation to problematic use of social media.

With a diverse range of population across the globe using social media, understanding the use of it is critical. While social media rightly has several benefits to offer, there remains a dark side for the times people can’t stop themselves from using it. Understanding this drive better would help us determine if we can consider the excessive use of social media as an addiction.

Although, usage of social media has addiction, this is not officially included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a guide for mental health professional for classification of mental disorders. However, the recently updated version, DSM-5, Internet Gaming Disorder, a condition mentioned as warranting further clinical study and experience for possibility of a formal disorder’s inclusion. However, this lacking of formal recognition does not stop people to refer to internet use compulsively, for a reason like gaming or some other, being an addiction. This conclusion is supported by various studies recently, which includes a compulsive internet user’s study of brain imaging that has shown functional and structural abnormalities of brain, as found in the individuals addicted to substance.

While it is yet to be discovered if this addiction would be included in the DSM, the traits associated to pathological internet users have much similarity with those of ‘Substance related and Addictive Disorders’.

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