Withdrawal without Social Media

Although adolescents are aware and think that they spend too much time with technology (especially their phones), it doesn’t look like they have any plans to reduce their use. There are stories about people taking a break from social media through a cleanse or even going off the grid completely and the benefits that come with them, but like any significant change in your habits, it can be an uphill battle to get to the positives.chat-2389223_1280

game-1926905_1280Because of how often people – and adolescents in particular – spend time on social media, it may get to the point of addiction. This isn’t just limited to the “typical” social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. Video games and the addiction that they can cause have also been a subject of discussion. The reason that so many adolescents spend time online can vary, but they may be hesitant to quit for reasons like FOMO, the escapism it allows them to have from everyday life, and the connection they have with their friends on the platforms.

It’s understandable why people want to take a break or completely quit social media. Depending on how often you use it though, there’s likely to be an adjustment period. Withdrawals are often associated with those trying to quit items that are more harmful and dangerous, such as drugs and alcohol. However, we can potentially experience these symptoms to some degree whenever we start reducing (or flat-out quitting) the things that play a huge part of our lives.

ethan-haddox-482609-unsplashIt’s okay, and completely natural, to feel these kinds of symptoms if you’re trying to reduce how much you use social media. Whether its apps, video games, or both, going a few days without them can disrupt your body and mind and make you feel moody and itching to go back on social media. You may find yourself unlocking your phone and your fingers automatically going to where your social media apps were located before they were deleted. You may feel like you’re missing out on conversations that everyone else might mention when you talk to them in real life or through texting, and literally fidgeting because you aren’t sure what to do.

If you’re trying to use social media less, it’s okay and completely normal to experience these minor withdrawal symptoms. Nearly half of adolescents today say that they are online almost constantly, so it’s a drastic change to go from using something all the time to a little bit and not at all. Life changes are rough to get used to, but if they’re things that can help you feel better about yourself and make you more productive in a healthier way, it’s worth that climb up that hill.


Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms from not using social media before? What kind of feelings were these? How long did it take until you began to experience them?

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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