There is a link between excessive social media use and behaviour seen in drug addicts, researchers have found.
Scientists carrying out a gambling experiment found the worst performers tended to be those who regularly used platforms such as Facebook.
The same trend was also observed among people who are reliant on drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
“Around one-third of humans on the planet are using social media, and some of these people are displaying maladaptive, excessive use of these sites,” said lead researcher Dr Dar Meshi, from Michigan State University.
“Our findings will hopefully motivate the field to take social media overuse seriously.”
Scientists found people who performed badly were more likely to use social media excessively, while those who performed better were less reliant on social media.
The results were similar to those from other gambling task studies, which included heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine users.
“Decision-making is oftentimes compromised in individuals with substance use disorders,” said Dr Meshi. “They sometimes fail to learn from their mistakes and continue down a path of negative outcomes.
“But no one previously looked at this behaviour as it relates to excessive social media users, so we investigated this possible parallel between excessive social media users and substance abusers.