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Social Media Is Causing Anxiety, Study Finds

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Got the Facebook fears?

According to a recent study released by non-profit Anxiety UK, over half of the social media users polled said Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites had changed their lives -- and 51 percent of those said it's not been for the better.

Forty-five percent of responders said they feel "worried or uncomfortable" when email and Facebook are inaccessible, while 60 percent of respondents stated "they felt the need to switch off" their phones and computers to secure a full-fledged break from technology. In other words, it's not being on social networks that makes people anxious. It's being away from them.

"These findings suggest that some may need to re-establish control over the technology they use, rather than being controlled by it,” says Anxiety UK CEO, Nicky Lidbetter.

Data also revealed that two-thirds of respondents had difficulty sleeping after using social media, and 25 percent admitted to difficulties in relationships because of "confrontational online" behavior, per the Telegraph.

The survey was conducted by the Salford Business School at the University of Salford, where 228 participants were polled for Anxiety UK's research.

While the study consists of a small sample size, Salford's data backs up other information on social media addiction. In a recent study Mobile Mindset study by Lookout, it was found that 73 percent of people would panic if they lost their smartphone, while another 54 percent admit to checking their phone "while lying in bed."

But are social media users anxious because of social media, or do more anxious people gravitate toward digital interactions?

“If you are predisposed to anxiety it seems that the pressures from technology act as a tipping point, making people feel more insecure and more overwhelmed," Lidbetter states.

A similar study from the University of Bergen in Norway measured Facebook user addiction this last April, finding those with poor sleeping habits were most likely to be Facebook-obsessed.

"We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face," author of the study Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen states.

While social media may cause some anxiety, don't add depression to the list of Facebook's vices just let. As Katherine Bindley of the Huffington Post reported, new research from the University of Wisconsin suggests the amount of time spent on Facebook had little correlation to test subject's symptoms of depression.

Do you believe your social media use has added stress and anxiety to your life? Or are digital interactions a "tipping point" for already anxious users? Let us know in the comments section, and then check out the slideshow below of six things that are allegedly less addictive than social media.

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