ADDICTION TO SOCIAL MEDIA: Profile, symptoms and treatment

Social media addiction is a mental illness that is developing with increasing frequency in adolescents around the world.

Social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and messaging systems such as WhatsApp are attractive to young people because their operation implies immediate interactivity.

The use of social networks has a social use to communicate in a popular environment, but this without educational control can upset the reality of some, especially when we talk about young adolescents.

The addiction to social networks is linked to the majority of young people who have emotional deficiencies and end up supplying them through social networks or unreal profiles.

The use was born under positive principles, but the problem occurs when it is detected that the rest of the obligations of a normal social life are put aside (studying or working, doing sports or other hobbies, going out with friends or interacting with the family) .

In addition, recent studies have detected that the abuse of social networks causes withdrawal from the real life environment, causes high levels of anxiety, affects self-esteem and can end up causing the loss of self-control capacity.



    There are people who are more vulnerable than others, so the profile of addicts to social networks are quite determined.

    Although most social networks are available to everyone, only a small part can present problems of abuse and addiction. Generally, adolescents constitute a collective risk potential for developing addiction to social networks, because they are the ones who connect to the Internet the most, spend the most hours online and are also more familiar with current new technologies.

    There are certain personality characteristics or emotional states that tend to increase the psychological vulnerability of the addict.

    Dr. Fàbregas, an addiction psychiatrist at the CITA center, explains that when we talk about addictions to social networks there is usually an underlying problem that must be treated psychologically as well. Excessive shyness, low self-esteem, rejection of body image, depression or hyperactivity are just some examples that can manifest after addiction.

    In these cases, the abuse of the Internet is like a smokescreen that shows the existence of a fire to control, a personality problem or a mental disorder, which is what should really be addressed.

    There are other cases in which people are treated who show personal dissatisfaction with their life and who try to hide those family or social deficiencies.

    In these cases, the Internet or social networks act as a technological prosthesis that facilitates escape from real life, although in the long term it has negative consequences.


    The problems related to social networks are sometimes the same benefits that are taken to the extreme or through malpractice of the platforms.

    The opportunity offered by social networks to have a public profile and be able to get followers and become known quickly, either by behaviors, tastes, looks, etc. it also hides the difficulty of being constantly exposed to public opinion and which can lead to uncontrollable addiction.

    Many family members wonder if a person is hooked on the network and if that can cause them significant emotional problems in the short or medium term.

    It is important to know how to identify addiction to social networks and try to change habits when a possible addiction begins to show. When the relationship seems uncontrollable, treatment will always be the best option.

    You can request information without obligation to treat Internet addiction at CITA, an addiction center in Barcelona that treats thousands of patients from all over the world.

    Tratamiento desintoxicación de las redes sociales


    Some of the symptoms caused by addiction to social networks tend to coincide;

    • Impulsiveness
    • Emotional distress
    • Intolerance to negative stimuli, both physical (pain, insomnia or fatigue) and psychic (dislikes, worries or responsibilities)
    • The exaggerated search for strong emotions.


    The treatment of addiction to social networks tends to require an intervention from the psychological aspect, but sometimes and as required by the patient’s condition, it is absolutely necessary to complement it with psychopharmacological, both act would act in favor of therapeutic progress.


    The psychological and sociotherapeutic treatment of conduct disorder due to the abuse of social networks, new technologies or addiction to mobile phones, are manifested in different contexts, as different as the plurality of the human being, in addition to the environment, their personality, the problems you have and your way of dealing with them.

    Psychology is going to be very important during therapeutic treatment. The treatments that we carry out from our addiction center respond to an individual evaluation, with a personalized program, which aims, through the most effective intervention strategies, the absolute improvement of the patient.


    The use of pharmacology will be decided based on the severity of the situation of the person suffering from this pathology.

    As with other behavioral addictions, network addiction can be related to high levels of bipolarity or anxiety.

    Depending on the evolution of the person and how it affects their health, drugs aimed at reducing these episodes of intensity and / or impulsivity, mood changes, etc. may be considered useful. Along these lines, antidepressant drugs can improve episodes of high anxiety.

    It is important that the use and prescription of drugs is through a psychiatrist who specializes in this type of pathologies such as the CITA doctor and whose main objective is to achieve the total improvement of the patient.


    At Cita Clinics we are specialists in the detoxification treatment of social networks. Get in touch with CITA to find out about your case and overcome your addiction to social networks with total discretion.

      About the Author: Dr. Josep Mª Fàbregas


      Especialista en adicciones y director psiquiatra del centro de adicciones y salud mental Clínicas CITA. Inicié mi carrera profesional en el Hospital Marmottande París, donde trabajé con el Profesor Claude Olievenstein. Posteriormente me trasladé a Nueva York y, tras varios años de experiencia profesional, en 1981 fundé CITA (Centro de Investigación y Tratamiento de las Adicciones) con el objetivo de desarrollar un modelo de comunidad terapéutica profesional, el cual lleva 32 años en funcionamiento.