😖📱 Doom Scrolling - The Bane of My Existence

I spent 3 hours on my phone today and can’t seem to get my studying done, so here I am writing instead. 📝

I’ve struggled with social media use since I was 14-ish years old. It started off with Facebook, and later in high school, evolved to using my blog as a platform to talk to random strangers online. It made sense being novelty seeking at that age (was probably unsafe - wouldn’t recommend). 🚨

In recent years, it became TikTok, Instagram, Little Red Book, or Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok) and whatever platform that’s addicting. 📱

I noticed that EVERY app with an endless scroll feature ends up being a major problem for me. I’ve deleted apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook more times than I can count, only to re-download it a few days later. 🔄

After deleting apps, I somehow will end up finding another source of dopamine on my phone, like shopping on Amazon 🛒 or browsing food on Doordash. 🍔

Clearly, social media is a dopamine trap and highly addictive, particularly for those with ADHD. I quickly lose all sense of time ⏳ on it. My brain’s reward system loves it, but it’s such a trap and not great for stress and anxiety 😫. Stepping away from technology actually heightens my restlessness and makes me uncomfortable nowadays, which is quite scary 😨. 

It takes a heavy emotional toll too, since guilt and self-criticism always ends up being the aftermath when I realize I haven’t done the more important things I had to get done 😔. But instant gratification instead of long-term reward, right? 🤷‍♂️

Here’s what some of the research I found says:

- 📖 There’s a moderate association between internet addiction and ADHD, those with internet addiction are associated with more severe symptoms of ADHD (Wang et al., 2017). 

- 🎮 Those with ADHD have higher rates of problematic interactive media use (e.g., gaming, social media), and adolescents with ADHD have more severe symptoms of problematic interactive media use, driven by poor self-control and boredom (Birkham, 2021). 

- 📱 Those with ADHD are drawn to digital media due to heightened sensitivity to rewards that’s fast-paced, where social media seems to exacerbate ADHD rather than cause it (Deckers, 2022). 

- 👫 Adolescents with ADHD face social challenges (e.g., peer rejection, unstable friendships), which can lead to them spending more time on social media. Adolescent girls with ADHD may prefer online communication and make friends online (Deckers, 2022). [I can certainly attest to this being true] 

- 👨‍👩‍👦 Parental factors like ADHD traits, parenting style, and family circumstances (e.g., adverse family situations common in families with ADHD) can contribute to adolescents' problematic social media use. Parents high in ADHD traits may model problematic behavior and provide poor monitoring (Deckers, 2022). 

So, what to do about it? 🤔

I still haven’t hacked this one. The important thing is recognizing it, and realizing that you’ll repeatedly fail but not giving up. Try different methods until you find something that works. 💪

Here are 4 things that have helped me:

1. ❌📱 Delete problematic apps and use the computer browser version which is harder to scroll on. I find that it’s impossible to not scroll if I have the apps on my phone. Of course, you will probably reinstall them, but… you can always delete them again. 

2. 📵🌚 Turn your phone into grayscale mode after a set time. Without color, there’s much less desire to scroll because the content is just less appealing. You can set it to turn grayscale after 10 PM, for example, to prevent doom scrolling before bed. 

3. ⏲️ Set yourself a timer before you start scrolling, in 5-minute intervals to remind yourself to stay aware of the time. Alternatively, set an app timer that limits an app’s use to a set time (e.g., 1 hour a day). You’ll probably end up ignoring the timer, but at least it’s a reminder. 

4. 🌳📵 Download an app that blocks other apps. I like Forest, where you can set yourself a timer (e.g., 2 hours) and plant trees in a virtual forest. During this time, if you visit a “banned” app, the app overlays a reminder on top of the app to remind you to go back to focusing. 


1. Bickham, D. S. (2021). Current research and viewpoints on internet addiction in adolescents. Current Pediatrics Reports, 9(1), 1–10.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40124-020-00236-3

2. Dekkers, T. J., & van Hoorn, J. (2022). Understanding problematic social media use in adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A narrative review and clinical recommendations. Brain Sciences, 12(12), Article 1625. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/12/12/1625

3. Wang, B., Yao, N., Zhou, X., Liu, J., & Lv, Z. (2017). The association between attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and internet addiction: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 1, Article 260. https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-017-1408-x


Post a Comment