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

Serena Williams had the best response for reporter who criticised her

"Are you serious?"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Jan 2017

Married at First Sight’s Caroline reveals truth about marriage to Adam

Steel yourselves, romantics

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jan 2017

Listen to A-listers narrate the history of Planned Parenthood

“No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
19 Jan 2017

Wife Swap set to return with one-off Brexit special

What happens when a Remain voter finds herself living in a family of Brexit fans?

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jan 2017

The 2017 Feminist Calendar: celebrate the sisterhood all year round

The future is female

by The Stylist web team
19 Jan 2017

Unicorn lattes are the new brunch trend taking over your Instagram

These healing concoctions are almost too pretty to drink

by Kayleigh Dray
19 Jan 2017

Will & Grace is officially coming back to TV and we can’t wait

NBC has ordered 10 new episodes of the iconic show to air later this year.

by Moya Crockett
19 Jan 2017

Men refuse to apply for jobs that use “feminine” words

They don't want to be "sympathetic" or "caring"

by Sarah Biddlecombe
19 Jan 2017

This new DIY divorce app vows to help you to ‘consciously uncouple’

Because there really is an app for everything nowadays

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jan 2017

Rachel Court wants employers to watch for these abuse warning signs

A woman who survived being shot by her husband has shared a letter from her old boss, revealing the extent to which her partner controlled her life for years

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Jan 2017