People addicted to social media and those addicted to alcohol share similar traits

Australian researchers have analyzed the character traits of people addicted to social networks and others with risky drinking. They found some similarities, including a tendency to impulsiveness.

Looking frantically at your phone or drinking alcohol excessively: these two addictive behaviors are similar in some respects. Researchers from the University of Bond in Australia have investigated the traits of these two types of individuals and find some similarities. Their findings were published in Australian Journal of Psychology.

143 women and men, aged 18 to 35, participated in the research. Researchers looked at their personality and looked for traits similar to those seen in people who drink at risk. They realized that addiction to social networks appeared in narcissistic, impulsive people who needed a reward.

People who are alcoholic, or whose alcohol consumption is on the brink of addiction, are also narcissistic and impulsive, but also have a tendency to alexithymia, that is to say difficulties in identifying and expressing their emotions. If the character traits associated with these two types of dependency are similar, they are not related to the same psychological logics. The narcissism of people addicted to social networks is very much in need of reward, which is not the case for alcoholics.

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According to Dr. Michael Lyvers, the lead author of this research, these findings could help improve the treatment of these two addictive behaviors: “targeting impulsivity and other signs of a lack of control could as relevant to an effective treatment of disorders caused by the use of the social networks as for the disorders of the consumption of alcohol or drugs”.

Social media addiction has become one of the major fields of psychological study in recent years. Our use is often compulsive. We take out phones while waiting for a bus, during a coffee break and consults these social media sites like the smoker who takes every opportunity to light a cigarette.

The negative effects of this addiction have already been noted by researchers: the risk of depression and feeling alone is higher among people who use the most social networks.

Carl Frantz

Polyglot, humanitarian, Carl was born in Germany but raised in the USA. He writes mostly on tech, science and culture.