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Monday, 06 May 2013 10:05

Facebook makes you psychotic

Written by Nick Farrell



Brighter you are the less likely you are to stay

Top boffins in Israel have worked out that social networking sites can actually send you bonkers. Researchers from Tel Aviv University have linked psychotic episodes in patients to internet addiction and delusions caused by virtual relationships cultivated on social networking sites.

It seems that while all the participants had underlying problems of loneliness, none had any history of psychosis or drug abuse, until they went on Facebook. Case studies show that Facebook, and other social networking sites, can lead to psychotic episodes and delusions. Lonely people are more likely to rely on virtual relationships and this can lead to hurt and betrayal.

Another study from the University of Gothenberg found that people with low income and low-educated people spend the most time on Facebook. And within this group, those who spent the most time on the site were less happy and less content with their lives. Up to 85 percent of Facebook users surveyed said they logged into the social networking site on a daily basis. And 26 percent of them felt 'uneasy' if they didn't log in regularly. Women spend an average of 81 minutes per day on Facebook while men can only manage an hour.

Lead researcher Doctor Uri Nitzan of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Shalvata Mental Health Care Centre said that psychopathologies are becoming more obvious as the Internet spreads. His studies found a direct link between psychotic episodes and their internet or Facebook communications. All three of Nitzan's patients tried to escape from loneliness and found solace in intense virtual relationships.

Nitzan said the patients shared loneliness and vulnerability due to the loss of or separation from a loved one. They were internet luddites and had no prior history of psychosis or substance abuse. No mention of worshipping cats.

Nick Farrell

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