by Victoria Woollaston
3 May 2013
from DailyMail Website



  • Israeli scientists find FaceBook can cause 'hurt and betrayal'

  • None of those studied had any history of psychosis or drug abuse

  • One patient thought their virtual friend was reaching out of the screen and touching her

FaceBook and other social networking sites can actually send you mad, according to scientists in Israel.

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.

Although all the participants had underlying problems of loneliness, none had any history of psychosis or drug abuse, the team say.


Case studies from patients in Israel have found that using 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

Lead researcher Doctor Uri Nitzan of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Shalvata Mental Health Care Centre said:

'As internet access becomes increasingly widespread, so do related psychopathologies.

'Computer communications such as FaceBook and chat groups are an important part of this story.'

The study took an in-depth look at three of Dr Nitzan's patients.

The studies found a direct link between psychotic episodes and their internet or FaceBook communications. All three of Dr Nitzan's patients sought refuge from a lonely situation and found solace in intense virtual relationships.

Although these relationships were positive at first, they eventually led to feelings of hurt, betrayal, and invasion of privacy.

Dr Nitzan said:

'The patients shared some crucial characteristics, including loneliness or vulnerability due to the loss of or separation from a loved one, relative inexperience with technology, and no prior history of psychosis or substance abuse.

'In each case, a connection was found between the gradual development and exacerbation of psychotic symptoms, including delusions, anxiety, confusion, and intensified use of computer communications.

'The good news is that all of the patients, who willingly sought out treatment on their own, were able to make a full recovery with proper treatment and care.'


A study in 2012 found that

women spend the most time on FaceBook - 81 minutes per day - compared to 64 minutes for men.

The poorly educated are most likely to be addicted to the site, too





...Most Likely to Be Addicted to FaceBook

A 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.

Whereas men spend 64 minutes per day on the site.




Dr Nitzan said:

'All of the patients developed psychotic symptoms related to the situation, including delusions regarding the person behind the screen and their connection through the computer.

'Two patients began to feel vulnerable as a result of sharing private information, and one even experienced tactile hallucinations, believing that the person beyond the screen was physically touching her.

'Some of the problematic features of the internet relate to issues of geographical and spatial distortion, the absence of non-verbal cues, and the tendency to idealize the person with whom someone is communicating, becoming intimate without ever meeting face-to-face.'

He added that mental health professionals should not overlook the internet's influence when speaking to patients.

'When you ask somebody about their social life, it's very sensible to ask about FaceBook and social networking habits, as well as internet use.






Simply Six Point Scale Separates Healthy Users

from FaceBook Addicts


Could you be addicted to FaceBook?

Here are six basic statements.

Choose from the following scale: 1 = Very rarely; 2 = Rarely; 3 = Sometimes; 4 = Often and 5 = Very often.

You spend a lot of time thinking about FaceBook or plan use of FaceBook.

You feel an urge to use FaceBook more and more.

You use FaceBook in order to forget about personal problems.

You have tried to cut down on the use of FaceBook without success.

You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using FaceBook.

You use FaceBook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.

If you score 4 (often) or 5 (always) on at least four of these six points, then you could be addicted to FaceBook.


'How people conduct themselves on the internet is quite important to psychiatrists, who shouldn't ignore this dimension of their patients' behavior patterns.'

Dr Nitzan said:

'Our study shows that while technologies such as FaceBook have numerous advantages, some patients are harmed by these social networking sites, which can attract those who are lonely or vulnerable in their day-to-day lives or act as a platform for cyber-bullying and other predatory behavior.

'All of these factors can contribute to a patient's break with reality, and the development of a psychotic state.'

The paper was published in the Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences.

The authors plan to do more in-depth research on FaceBook, studying the features and applications that have the potential to harm patients emotionally or permit patients to cause emotional harm to others.