We all know that social media can be addictive. Checking out people's profiles, watching funny cat videos and so much more can lead to a tremendous waste of time. But did you know it may actually be as addictive as cocaine?
According to some health experts, social media can create the same short-term addictive effects as drugs like cocaine and opioids. Cocaine and opioids induce the brain to release dopamine, a chemical that produces positive feelings for the user. It turns out that receiving a like on a Facebook comment or status produces the same release of dopamine as using those drugs and creates a similar pleasurable experience.
To be fair, there are many things that induce the same dopamine release in the human brain besides dangerous drugs. Sex, food and even walking into a warm room after being out in the cold can all induce a dopamine release in the brain. Just because an action causes a dopamine release doesn't mean it's addictive.
However, some have argued that the effects of social media are more damaging for society than those other actions. A former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, gave a speech in November in which he specifically called out this dopamine-feedback loop as part of the problem.
"The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works," Palihapitiya told the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it's not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."
While these short-term dopamine feedbacks could be problematic, social media and Facebook haven't been shown to produce any long-term effects on the development of the brain. So you don't have to necessarily plan out an intervention the next time you see Aunt Donna post pictures from her trip to the local dog park.
(h/t Fox News)