Facebook: love it or hate it, it is an integral part in the lives of many (and it's also addicting). But does using the social media site have any negative connotations?
Doctor Uri Nitzan of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Shalvata Mental Health Care Center says yes. He wondered if the use of Facebook and other social media sites had anything to do with his patients' mental state.
More Social Online = More Unhappy
As initially reported by the Daily Mail, the study uncovered the fact that people who were going through "loneliness or vulnerability due to the loss of or separation from a loved one" were actually left in a worse mental state after using the Internet to socialize.
Dr. Nitzan noticed a host of psychotic symptoms develop after being introduced to social media (that's right, introduced: those participating in the study started out with "relative experience with technology"), such as anxiety, confusion, delusions, and increased use of the computer to socialize.
One instance, as strange as it may seem, had one woman convinced the person she was chatting with online was actually trying to physically touch her.
They Were Crazy From The Start
One might think these delusional people were that way prior to the study being conducted. However, no symptoms of delusions were reported prior to using Facebook. Then what caused this disconnect? It is theorized the nature of online communication, having no limits, pushed them to insanity.
Dr. Nitzan said that many factors could contribute to this. Not grasping the geographical distance between the two parties is one issue, as well as the fact important nonverbal cues are not able to take place (sarcasm doesn't translate well on the Internet.) Another big problem: it's easier to be intimate with someone you've never met before, only reading the words they are typing on their computer. People are prone to idealizing their chat buddy.
Will Crazy Become The New Normal?
Basically, Facebook can lead to a "break with reality," according to Dr. Nitzan. I'm sure we all know a few people who are obsessed with the social media site. Do you call them crazy?
I'm sure you can think of people who often say things like, "Well so-and-so had a party last night, the pictures were all over Facebook. Why wasn't I invited, but so-and-so was?" Where we used to sustain friendships without having to invite the whole gang along, now we might feel that we must be selective with the pictures that are shared in case someone gets their feelings hurt.
And now, whenever a single woman meets a new prospective boyfriend, she's probably looking up his profile to peruse his photo albums, looking for evidence he has a girlfriend, or engages in nefarious behavior.
So it isn't that we're all crazy. It's actually that Facebook is taking normal, rational people and making them crazy. Soon, it won't be seen as crazy, and that's quite alarming.