CHECKING and scrolling through social media sites has become an increasingly popular activity over the last decade.

That has risen dramatically further since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is a very good way of keeping in touch with family and friends.

For most people there are no issues, but sadly there is an increasing number of users who have become addicted to social networking.

They engage in compulsive use and that can also be accompanied by a large update in alcohol consumption and drug taking.

All of this can combine to create serious mental and physical health problems which can affect people of all ages, and not just the younger generation.

Marbella-based Villa Paradiso Rehab Spain can provide the help and knowledge needed to overcome this kind of new new addiction that has become more prominent over the last year,

Dr. Ruth Arenas Mata, is Villa Paradiso’s in-house psychiatrist and has many years of experience in addiction treatment.

She says: ” Social media steals time or real life with real relationships and after a while people lose social skills and they suffer from loneliness.”

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DR. RUTH ARENAS MATA

THE PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA

More free time has led to people taking to social media on their phones and computers.

That brings a host of problems, as Villa Paradiso’s lead therapist, Matthew Idle, explains:

“Social media can lead to increased anxiety and depression as it is often disconnecting with reality.”

“It takes over some people’s lives as users suffer self-esteem issues over the way they look or negative comments that are made about them.”

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MATTHEW IDLE

Matthew says that users with drug or alcohol dependencies are more susceptible to being hooked to the social media world and that increases those problems further.

“I am hearing of more cases where people are staying up all night drinking as they scrawl through social media sites which they think bring them some comfort.”

“It’s not living in reality but in a fantasy world that can become an obsession, “ he added.

One consequence of all of this is that people lose their confidence in face-to-face interactions.

“Basic conversations like asking about a partner’s day become harder. Human beings were born to bond with each other and not with a phone, “ says Matthew.

He also warned obsessives end up trusting everything they read on the internet and that could go as far as trying to diagnose medical conditions online.

SPOTTING THE SIGNS

Matthew Idle says that most of the signs involving somebody addicted to social media can be spotted.

“If people are always on the phone, then that is a clear warning. If they have little to say or are not sleeping or skipping meals, then you should be on your guard.”

“Reduced performance at work and a feeling of increased isolation and loneliness plus indications of low self-esteem should be looked out for.”

STOPPING THE ADDICTION

Villa Paradiso’s trained team can help to combat social media and associated addictions through their in-patient treatment sessions.

Matthew Idle says; “When clients come to see us, then we take away their phones as they are the biggest catalyst in social media obsession.”

“There is limited phone access to speak to family or friends, but we then try to breakdown an individual’s feelings and emotions as we talk through their social media usage.”

“We talk about face-to-face communication and keeping things real.”

The sessions appear to have worked for many people who have deleted their social media accounts even before the course of sessions has finished.

Villa Paradiso keeps in close touch with their clients for a full 12 months aftercare which includes one-to-one sessions and recovery support groups.

Villa Paradiso also offer treatment in Tunisia for any Arabic and French speakers in a beautiful and luxurious private villa overlooking the sea.

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