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Love Facebook? Beware Facebook Addiction Is Similar to Cocaine Addiction

by Staff Writers | The Web Writer Spotlight: May 26, 2017

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“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” – Carl Jung

 

With 1.94 billion monthly active users worldwide (as of March, 2017) engaging in Facebook activities like updating statuses, posting photos, commenting and ‘liking’ posts, most people probably wouldn’t notice that they are addicted to the social network.

But, Facebook has become so prevalent in modern society today that addiction to the world's largest social network is a pandemic that academics say affects our brain in a similar way to taking cocaine.

 

Facebook Addiction Affects the Brain Similar to Taking Cocaine

 

You could be sitting in a meeting at work, at the movies with friends or at the dinner table with family and you’re constantly itching to check your Facebook feed. With fingers twitching, you find yourself reaching for your pocket for the tenth time in an hour. You’ve just got to know: did your favorite page post a new update? Did anyone comment on your new profile pic yet? Have you gotten any likes on your clever status update? You’ve even mastered the art of stealing subtle glances at the screen before anyone notices that you’re checking your Facebook feed again. You simply can’t stay off the site.

According to Professor Ofir Turel of California State University, this behavior is so common today that it may show up in brain scans of those who can’t stay off the site. The compulsive behavior affects the grey matter in the brain in a similar way that cocaine does, although without the impaired inhibition found in the drug-addicted brains.

“The impulsive system can be thought of as a car’s accelerator, while the inhibitory system can be likened to a brake,” explained Turel. “In addictions, there is very strong acceleration associated with the impulsive system often coupled with a malfunctioning inhibitory system.”

As a result of acceleration associated with the impulsive system, some Facebook addicts responded to Facebook stimuli faster than they do to road signs, as per a recent study published in Psychological Reports: Disability and Trauma.

“This is scary when you think about it, since it means that users might respond to a Facebook message on their mobile device before reacting to traffic conditions if they are using technology while on the road,” said Turel, the study co-author.

Fortunately, it is much easier to quit your Facebook addiction, research suggests.

 

How to Beat Facebook Addiction (Inforgraphic)

 

Social networking sites like Facebook "hook" people using four elements: a trigger, such as loneliness, boredom or stress; an action, such as logging in to Facebook; an unpredictable or variable reward, such as scrolling through a mix of juicy and boring tidbits in the news feed; and investment, which includes posting pictures or liking someone's status update, said Nir Eyal, a startup founder and author of "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products."

If you are a compulsive Facebook user and you now recognize it might be causing problems in your life, or you just want to cut back a bit on social networking sites so you can focus your attention and energy on more important things, there are some steps you can take to start to take control.

Here’s a useful infographic from WhoIsHostingThis.com that highlights some of the most effective steps you can take to beat Facebook addiction.

 

 

See Also: 5 Things You Need to Know about Facebook.

Featured Image Credit: Voices from Russia.

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