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The Facebook Disorder: A new type of addiction

By Brittany Oxley
On April 11, 2012


   Making relationships "Facebook official," "liking" something, and "posting on someone's wall" are only some of the few phrases that we have all become familiar with thanks to the popular social networking website, Facebook.

   Initially created for the sole purpose of connecting college students, Facebook is now used by most people all over the world. According to CNN, Facebook currently has about two hundred million users, and increases its number of users every day.

   With such a website available that  just about everybody is on, it is not surprising that people have become "addicted" to Facebook.

   Facebook is the virtual place you can visit when you are putting off studying for that big final the next day, the place you can go to stalk that ex-boyfriend or girlfriend of yours, or to  look at the profiles of people you have never met before, simply because you are curious or bored out of your mind.

    "I go on Facebook basically every day," said Kerianne Caprara. "I am not sure why I even go on it so much. It's just something to do."

   Why are people so determined to visit this website every day?  The reason for this may be because Facebook provides people with the opportunity to connect with a wide array of people and portray to those people just how "perfect" their life is.

   In a way, Facebook provides a tool for people to create an alter ego for themselves to feed their inner insecurities.

   On Facebook, a person can make their lives look as perfect as they want it to be. He or she can enhance his or her own attractiveness, simply by altering his or her pictures using an array of photo editing websites. Many  hope that after doing so, a large number of people will "like" or comment on their picture.

   These people can also create statuses about just how successful their life has been or go out of their way to post pictures after an exciting night  out, just  to show other people  how great their lives really are.

   Dr. Michael Fenichel argues that Facebook has created a new type of mental disorder that he likes to call, "Facebook Addiction Disorder," or FAD.

   "For some, the 'apps' seem to be totally compelling, for hours on end,"Dr. Fenichel says. "For others, Facebook is used more like email: to keep in touch with a group, sometimes serious, sometimes playful, and sometimes simply sharing. But the fact of how ingrained Facebook has become culturally is one which is easy to miss, because, well, everybody's doing it!"

   Because Facebook holds the information of everyone you have ever thought about, or were secretly jealous of, while at the same time  allowing for 24/7 communication access, this website has become extremely addictive.

   According to CNN, there are five ways to determine whether or not you have conformed into a Facebook addict yourself:

   1.) you stay up late at night to the point where you lose sleep to go on Facebook; 2.)you spend more than one hour a day on Facebook; 3.)you become obsessed with old loved ones or people you barely know in real life; 4.)you ignore important work that must be done in order to go on Facebook; and 5.) you  feel stressed if you cannot go on Facebook for at least a day at a time.

   According to Dr. Fenichel, "One of the ironies is that the very people who might otherwise be working with people professionally to treat addictions, social isolation, etc., seem to be themselves among the most active Facebookers."

   Rethink how and why you spend your time on Facebook. You may be an addict without even realizing it. 

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