Am I Addicted to Social Media or Other Habits That Started Out Fun, but Now I Feel Trapped By?

What would be your first reaction is someone said to you:  “I’m addicted to fast food, video games and shopping.”  That was my introduction to a client Brad (name changed).

I was amazed he was so aware of what his problem was. As we worked together on his “light” addictions, (addictive more than addicted*) and the underlying loneliness, stress from old family pain and trying to find his place in the world as a young adult, I realized many people are probably struggling like Brad to find health and happiness and getting trapped in what advertisers tell us will bring relief, even happiness –FB, shopping, fast food, sex…

These so called guilty pleasures, fun hobbies or escapes can move from choice, to habit to compulsion.  IF we’re overusing them or using them to meet needs they can’t possibly meet. Yes, they can be great distractions and be fun. But, how do you really feel after an hour on FB comparing yourself to all those WONDERFUL others who look and seem incredibly happy (& you aren’t).

There’s an old saying: “What fires together, wires together.” The more our brain is trained to get pleasure or relief from a certain activity the more the brain SEEKS more of the same. Over time, some of us develop addictive behaviors with social media, FB, video games, food, sex – anything that feels good and relieves stress. Nothing good or bad about any of this, but if our seeking pleasure or distraction crosses the line to HAVE to DO this, or is affecting life negatively; debt, relationships hurt, jobs lost, stress intensified… then you probably want to check out other stress, anxiety coping methods and expand what feels like fun.

“When a hobby, habit, or behavior becomes an addiction, it can be just as harmful as addictions to alcohol or chemical substances. Called process addiction, many people don’t realize the negative effects that this kind of compulsive behavior can have on daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.

Becoming addicted to something such as FB, other social media, shopping, gambling, sexual activity, or eating can take over and lead you down an unhealthy, painful path. When an activity interferes with your life, it’s time to seek help process addiction. (The “ “ information is from Family First Intervention .  More info about their programs at 888-291-8514.)

Next time “What do Do If You Have a Process Addiction”

If you relate to this article please talk to someone you trust or seek counseling or 12 Step help. I’m available for a quick phone chat. You can email me at or text 209 505-2675.

Feel free to use all or part of this blog as long as you list my name, website and contact information.

Lynn is the author of Intentional JOY: How to Turn Stress, Fear & Addiction into Freedom.

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(209) 492-8745/209 505-2675