Is Facebook addiction Real?

This has been one of my favorite topics as of late considering what a sureal experience it is to see people become addicted to this media juggernaut.  Please check my “media” tab for a news story I did for Channel 3 outlining why facebook is definetly a true addiction and how facebook addiction can impact all aspects of life.  Also read my article in the azfoothills.com which can be found on my media page as well which details this topic much more in depth.  Not enough psychiatrists are paying attention to this trend and we need to be on top of this!

I will just comment briefly on the criteria and symptoms for facebook addiction. First consider every single diagnostic criteria that is applied to alcohol, drug, gambling and internet addiction, is equally present when looking at over-users of facebook. Largely when facebook addiction is causing you to ignore family, friends or work comittments, becoming depressed when not using facebook, turning to facebook when you are depressed, using more and more over time and building tolerance, trying to cut down but being unable to, and a few other criteria make this diagnosis a no brainer as a true addiction.

What seals the deal is the important criteria for addiction that includes having physiological withdrawal symptoms from stopping the “drug.’ In typical drugs and alcohol this includes-restlessness, excessive sweating, discomfort and “edgy”, increased anxiety, insomnia and cravings to use.  Several studies have looked at the potential withdrawal symptoms from facebook addiction and heavy users who had to give up facebook abruptly experienced most of the same physiological symptoms of withdrawal as drugs and alcohol produce.  This clearly illustrates the link between your thoughts and actions ability to change your brain circuitry which in turn changes your physiological sensations and feelings. This is clear evidence facebook addicition is very real.

Pretty powerful stuff and scary if you ask me because things are only getting worse with more and more social media options popping up monthly, I don’t see an end in site.  Now it is facebook addiction but what is next? How do we keep up?  I ask my colleages to educate take this problem by the horns and control the problem before it gets completely derailed and out of control!

 

Michael Yasinski M.D