Many students don’t even remember life before Facebook, Twitter, cell phones or the Internet. What used to be a privilege has now become a given. However, there are repercussions to being in constant social networking modes and many are unaware of the significant health problems that can occur such as FTAD or Facebook/Twitter Addiction Disorder.
A recent study conducted on about 1,000 college age students showed they were unable to voluntarily stay “unplugged” for one entire day. “Unplugged” was the name of the study referred to in The Snapper which showed that four out of five students suffer from this disorder.
Facebook addiction causes considerable mental and physical suffering, confusion, panic and extreme isolation. The global experiment done at 10 universities in 2010 showed that students suffered symptoms similar to drug addicts who quit “cold turkey” when they unplugged.
One American student referred to the withdrawal as a craving similar to itching for a crackhead. Most of the symptoms from this type of addiction are similar to anxiety, depression, and isolation from not receiving the constant news and alerts from their peers keeping up with what they are doing. One sophomore student expressed that Twitter puts her on a more personal level with celebrities with whom you’d never speak in real life.
There isn’t any doubt that social networking allows people to meet their basic social needs to feel acceptance, love and to be part of a group, says Dr. Michael Fenichel. To date there have been six criteria to diagnose FTAD. At least two or three need to be present to diagnose a person over a five to six month time frame.