Divorces or losing a loved one may be a painful journey. To divert the mind, people get hooked to social media, as it plays the role of fixing or creating new friendships. Further, this turns into an addiction that can have repercussions.
Jehaan Shah (name changed), a 40-year old divorcee from Lower Parel, was habituated to update his Facebook status every time he checked in at a place or so. This is a common habit but what made Shah rush to a psychiatric clinic is his addiction to social media.
It was on the day that he didn’t get range at a picnic that he had gone with his friends. He couldn’t upload pictures or even use internet connection. And this was getting very anxious. Next day he walked into a psychiatric clinic in Parel and admitted that he was way highly addicted to social media, only after his divorce.
“There is a need for constant recognition and acceptance that adults are looking for,” said Dr Sagar Mundada, Mumbai based psychiatrist. “I treated him for his excessive addiction and he had to undergo therapy sessions for the same. But this addiction isn’t an isolated complaint. Many adults come with this addiction and this is a dangerous one.”
Shah’s case is not an isolated one. Increasing number of doctors across the city say that social media addiction among singles is a very common one, however, this is not to say that being single is a prerequisite for this addiction.
In case of Ruhaana Lalwani (name changed), a 30-year-old divorcee from Mulund. As a working professional, she had separated from her husband about a year ago. She was healing from the wounds of separation when she realized how painfully real it was to know that she had lost touch with most of her friends. She then met Dr Sagar Karia, asking for help in taking decision.
“I have seen that women who have suffered from anxiety disorders and social insecurities are likely to use the social media platform to communicate with people through technology rather in person. The fact that a significant portion of women check their Facebook immediately after waking up is a strong sign in itself of the pressures that exist within the people,” said Dr Hozefa A Bhinderwala, Psychiatrist, Global Hospitals.
In the need to get back to her friends, she signed up on Facebook and started using it more often. Her desire for a ‘friend’ grew so much so that she continuously started chatting with a guy, who belonged to an Arabian country.
One fine day, she consulted Dr Karia to ask if she should go ahead with the marriage.
“I get a lot of patients like this who are so addicted in the need for a companion that they stop understanding what is the reality and what is not. This is a very alarming,” said Dr Sagar Karia, practising psychiatrist at Mulund and Secretary of Bombay Psychiatric Society.