Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Facebook could be as addictive as cocaine, study finds: five ways to tell if you’re hooked

addiction.jpg

We joke that we’re ‘addicted’ to Facebook, or are trying to go ‘cold turkey’ from our news feed, but perhaps the joke’s on us.

Facebook is said to trigger similar effects on the brain to cocaine addiction, a new study has found.

Professor Ofir Turel from California State University, asked 20 undergraduates to fill out a questionnaire to assess how addicted they were to the social networking site. Volunteers were then shown a series of images – some of which related to Facebook – and had to press a button when those appeared.

Those who hit the button quickly were the same ones who had scored highly in the addiction test.

The brains of the participants were also monitored, and the results found that the part of the brain that was involved in drug addiction - specifically cocaine -  was affected when they saw images related to Facebook.

cocaine

Facebook is said to trigger similar effects on the brain to cocaine addiction

Some users, Turel says, “responded to Facebook stimuli faster than they did to road signs.”

The study, published in Psychological Reports: Disability and Trauma, concludes that “technology-related 'addictions' share some neural features with substance and gambling addictions”.



Although the correlation between brain activity in cocaine and Facebook addiction was strong, Turel says that the latter is easier to overcome than cocaine:

“We speculate that that addictive behaviour in this case stems from low motivation to control the behaviour, which is due partly to the relatively benign societal and personal consequences of technology overuse, compared to, say, substance abuse.”

So, how do we know if we’re addicted to Facebook? We've pulled together five tell-tale signs...

Facebook

Can you turn away?

Here are five signs to look out for:

1) Anxiety – you feel anxious and unsafe when you’re without Facebook. This might result in withdrawal when you aren’t able to use the site for a prolonged period of time – including cold sweats or restlessness and an inability to sit still.

2) You have no interest in food and sleep – only Facebook – which you constantly crave. You probably already checked Facebook three times whilst reading this article.

3) You use Facebook as a way to escape your personal problems, and you rationalise your use of it, saying it makes you feel more positive when really it’s the addiction speaking. But, deep down, you feel conflicted about the site and you think that maybe it’s not good for you.

4) You feel euphoric when you’re on Facebook, you get that familiar rush and you feel like you can take on anyone – or anything that comes your way.

5) You are easily irritable and argumentative when away from the site, and you might even steal people’s laptops and smartphones, in order to calm down. 

Related

digital detox.jpg

What happened when a social media addict tuned out for two weeks

304_tablet_year_of_you_lead_v1.jpg

Three ways to be more content with your life

ThinkstockPhotos-153785155.jpg

The everyday habits that could be raising your stress levels

brad-and-angelina.jpg

The way you kiss could reveal everything about your relationship

rexfeatures_5498456a.jpg

“I would seek help if Charlotte or George had mental health problems”

megan and tocco airbnb 2.jpg

Meet the couples who fell in love on Airbnb

facebook.JPG

How this one “honest signal” on Facebook could affect your career

rexfeatures_5127380aw.jpg

The three new acronyms that will sum up your social life in 2016

carpool sia.JPG

Sia smashes Carpool Karaoke in monochrome disguise

Comments

More

Inside Nepal’s forced marriage revolt

When love and tradition collide

by Corinne Redfern
23 Feb 2017

Demi Lovato on her mental health documentary: “I’m bipolar and proud”

The singer opened up about her new mental illness documentary to Ellen DeGeneres.

by Moya Crockett
23 Feb 2017

Are you ready for the UK’s national gin festival?

With over 100 gins to try, we imagine it will be quite the tonic…

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Feb 2017

The rising stars of food and drink making waves in 2017

Load up your palettes with purple food and Mexican spirit

by Amy Swales
23 Feb 2017

Stop what you're doing and try these Crème scotch eggs

They’re a chocoholic’s dream come true…

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Feb 2017

Why you’ll be seeing red X’s everywhere on Facebook today

It’s all to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.

by Moya Crockett
23 Feb 2017

Five ways to get on top of your decision anxiety

A hypnotherapist explains.

23 Feb 2017

Secret Life of Five Year Olds: The incredible life lessons we learned

From feminism to single-shaming

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017

Are you ready for the ultimate gin and gingerbread masterclass?

Lessons take place in a luxury spa, if that helps to seal the deal…

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017

This is officially the best place to live in the UK

And, surprise surprise, it isn’t London…

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Feb 2017