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Social Media Addiction Counseling

If you’re struggling with social media addiction, getting counseling can be the best way to help you overcome it. But with so many different types of therapy and therapists out there, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. By understanding your options for counseling, you can make the process of finding the right help a little easier.

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Seeking Counseling for Social Media Addiction

The best treatment for social media addiction is counseling, but finding the right therapy type and therapist to work with can feel like an enormous task. Understanding the available counseling options can make finding social media addiction counseling much easier.

Do I Need Counseling for Social Media Addiction?

Social media addiction is classified as a behavioral addiction, similar to gambling or shopping addiction. In terms of treatment, counseling is one of the best treatment options for social media addiction and broader internet addiction.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has an issue with social media use or has social media addiction, see if the warning signs of the condition sound familiar.

Although social media addiction may seem less serious than substance abuse, addictive behavior can still seriously affect your life.

By entering counseling for social media addiction, you can address addictive behaviors that worsen mental health and regain control over your social media use.

Common signs of social media addiction include:

  • Excessive social media use that interferes with work, school, and social activities
  • Spending large amounts of time on social media despite adverse effects or mental health issues
  • Doing dangerous things for social media content
  • Becoming obsessed with the lives of strangers that post on social media sites
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms like mood swings, headaches, and sleep issues when not on social media
  • Engaging in constant destructive activities like cyberbullying while on social media
  • Using social media to cope with negative emotions or mental health conditions
  • Mindlessly scrolling social media for hours without realizing how much time has passed
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Types of Counseling for Treating Social Media Addiction

Although social media addiction isn’t formally recognized in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses, 5th edition), the condition is very real for the addicts and counselors who treat it.

Thankfully, counseling has proven to be the most effective treatment for behavioral addictions like social media addiction. Through counseling, social media addicts can better understand the causes of their addiction and how to manage addictive behaviors better healthily.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most popular form of behavioral therapy, especially for behavioral addictions.

CBT works by helping the patient identify the self-destructive thought patterns that lead to addiction and learn to redirect those thoughts into more productive ones.

Many social media addicts (especially young people) struggle with low self-esteem and tend to compare themselves to impossible standards seen on social media.

CBT can also help patients spot false beliefs they carry about themselves due to these comparisons, improving their self-worth in the process.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

First created in the 1970s by Marsha Linehan to treat borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is highly effective with behavioral addictions.

Whereas CBT focuses on thought patterns and false self-beliefs, DBT targets and changes destructive behavioral patterns instead.

Another difference between CBT and DBT is how therapy sessions are conducted:

CBT is typically a one-on-one session, while DBT has a one-on-one session and a group skills training setting.

DBT is designed to assist patients in developing coping skills for managing intense emotions in real time, which helps to prevent relapse into social media addiction.

Motivational Interviewing

Many social media addicts may struggle to find the motivation to recover from their addiction, something motivational interviewing (MI) can help with. MI is a goal-oriented therapy designed to strengthen the patient’s motivation and commitment to a specific goal.

A licensed therapist will work with the patient to identify their reasons for wanting to change through acceptance and compassion for themselves. The goal is for the patient to feel empowered and motivated to recover while creating an environment free of judgment.

Group Therapy

Some social media addicts find that group therapy is more effective for them than one-on-one therapy. Group therapy is typically run by a licensed therapist who helps a small group of fellow social media addicts talk about their experiences and offer peer support to one another.

Group therapy can provide a much-needed support network and sounding board for addicts, exposing them to new ways of improving difficult situations concerning their addiction.

Peer support in group therapy can also help hold addicts accountable when cravings or temptations strike.

How Counseling Helps Treat Social Media Addiction

Unfortunately, social media has become deeply embedded in daily life, with many jobs requiring the use of social media platforms and social networking with others.

Counseling can help addicts learn to curb destructive or excessive social media use, giving patients better tools to cope with stress.

Unlike substance use disorders, most cases of social media addiction do not require inpatient rehab stays. Typically outpatient care through counseling or support groups is all that’s needed to address the overuse of social media and addictive behaviors.

While complete abstinence from social media may be difficult, counseling can help addicts monitor and reduce social media usage. By learning to identify when social media apps have a negative effect, patients can develop strategies to combat problematic social media use.

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Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

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Take Assessment

Additional Options for Social Media Addiction Treatment

In addition to treatment programs featuring counseling, support groups can significantly help recovering social media addicts. Whether through real-life or online meetups, addicts can connect with others who understand the challenges of recovery in a world dominated by social media.

Support groups Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous and Media Addicts Anonymous are two popular options to supplement existing counseling. Both groups also offer a 12-step program that could serve in place of treatment if counseling is unavailable.

Finding the Right Social Media Addiction Counselor

Finding a social media addiction counselor may feel daunting, but many counselors and treatment centers offer options for treating social media addiction. Because each person’s addiction and situation is unique, finding the best counselor or therapy option to fit your needs may take a few tries.

Here are a few things to consider when looking for a social media addiction counselor:

  • Comfort: If your therapist doesn’t make you feel comfortable and safe to be vulnerable and express yourself, you may not achieve the results you’re hoping for. Don’t be afraid to try another therapist if you don’t feel compatible with their personality and therapy style.
  • Appointment times: If your appointment time requires a lot of hassle to attend, you’ll be less likely to stay on top of your recovery process. When considering a certain office or therapist, make sure they offer appointment times that fit better into your personal schedule.
  • Price: Cost is often a huge reason people avoid or write off therapy sessions. Don’t hesitate to ask about the price of sessions and what co-pays you’ll have if you have insurance or request information about lower-cost sessions. You can also ask if any community resources are available at lower costs or for free.
  • Experience: The treatment of behavioral addictions can differ from treatments for other mental health conditions. Ensure your healthcare provider has experience treating social media addiction to ensure your best chance at recovery.

Locating Counseling for Social Media Addiction

If you or someone you care about is struggling with social media addiction and wants to seek help from a counselor, various therapy options are available. You can choose between in-person therapy sessions or online therapy sessions. It’s advisable to discuss with your doctor about the duration of time you spend on social media and ask for recommendations for counseling.

If you don’t have a doctor or don’t know where to start looking for treatment, you can try SAMHSA’s treatment locator or call their phone number at 1-877-726-4727 (HELP) to receive information on social media addiction treatment options near you.

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FAQ's About Social Media Addiction Counseling

What is the best treatment for social media addiction?

The best treatment for social media addiction is counseling. Counseling is ideal, as it can help patients identify and address the root behavioral cases of their social media addiction.

The most common forms of counseling for social media addiction include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Group therapy
  • Motivational interviewing

Is there a cure for social media addiction?

No, there isn’t a cure for social media addiction.

Addiction is a disease that affects how the brain functions and interacts with certain behaviors or substances. Recovery is achieved through counseling and support, but the risk of relapse will always be possible.

How long does it take to recover from social media addiction?

It depends on many factors, such as the length of addiction, any co-occurring mental illnesses, and how committed addicts are to their recovery.

Generally speaking, the more active and committed you are to recovery, the sooner you can enter recovery and improve your overall well-being.

However, there is no straight line to recovery, and each journey is unique to that person. Some people may take longer than others, so don’t compare your recovery to anyone else’s.

What are some signs that someone is addicted to social media?

Common signs of social media addiction include:

  • Spending time on social media at the risk of damaging relationships or missing important opportunities
  • Obsessing over the lives of strangers on social media
  • Feeling intense FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) when not on social media
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using social media
  • Feeling depressed over not receiving notifications from social media or low amounts of likes and comments on social media posts
  • Unable to stop using social media, even if you want to
  • Doing risky things for social media content
  • Mindlessly scrolling social media for hours without realizing it
  • Feeling like your online life is more important than real life

How much does it cost to get counseling for social media addiction?

The cost of social media addiction counseling depends on if you’re insured, your insurance type, and the demand for counseling in your area. If you have insurance, call and ask how much they will contribute to the cost of counseling.

If you’re uninsured, you can ask the office or therapist how much sessions cost out of pocket. You can also ask if there are any community resources available to you.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

Editorial Director

Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

  1. Bergman, M. (2023, May 17). Social Media Addiction Solutions and Treatment. Social Media Victims Law Center.
  2. Bray, B. (2021, August 30). Helping Clients Develop a Healthy Relationship With Social Media. Counseling Today.
  3. Johnson, B. (2019, October 31). Psychotherapy: Understanding Group Therapy. American Psychological Association.
  4. Kessler, S. (2016, August 1). What I Learned in 12 Weeks of Therapy for Social Media Addiction. Fast Company.
  5. Peris, M., de la Barrera, U., Schoeps, K., & Montoya-Castilla, I. (2020, June 26). Psychological Risk Factors That Predict Social Networking and Internet Addiction in Adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  6. Understanding Motivational Interviewing. Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). (n.d.).

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