By Danielle Gorman
It has now been three weeks since I gave up Facebook and I’m loving it. The only social media I still currently use is Pinterest and Instagram (in fact, having no Facebook to fill this hours has helped me step up my Insta-game and I’m posting more frequently than ever!).
I’m glad I’ve got you to follow in this journey with me, a journey of self-discovery if I’m being honest. I can now see how dependent I was, and to some degree still am, on Facebook. The urges to post or less frequent, but still there. It has made me wonder if there are other people out there struggling with the same thing I am. It’s called Facebook Addiction Disorder.
Yeah, it’s a real thing. And they cutely call it F.A.D. for short, because that is what Facebook is, a fad that will stick around for a while longer and then be replaced by something “better,” a.k.a. more addictive and destructive than the previous one. But F.A.D. isn’t some new discovery. People have been showing signs of it since the late 2000’s, only a few years into Facebook’s inception. To learn more about it, I went to the web in search of some facts.
There are physical and mental signs that you’re addicted to Facebook. I’ll lay them out for you here:
1) Tolerance– like any addiction, the more time you spend with it the more desensitized you will becomes, which then leads to you using it more and more and more. Eventually you cannot function without your fix. And in this case your fix is non-stop scrolling through home feeds.
2) Withdrawal– Just like an alcoholic gets the sweats and the shakes when they try to give it up, chronic Facebook users may feel similar feelings of withdrawal when they attempt to give it up. While I haven’t experienced any symptoms that bad, I have noticed that my focus—in general—has had to be retrained. At first, I constantly wanted to go back on and couldn’t focus on other tasks until I satisfied the urge, but I held strong and slowly my ADHD-like tendencies have gone away.
3) Reduced activities– You will begin to stop going out. It’s as simple as that. Or you will go out and spend the entire time on your phone, scrolling through messages and trending topics. Either way, reduced, normal, social outings is not good for your brain. You need interaction with actual humans, face-to-face not screen-to-screen.
4) Virtual dates– I can’t believe this is even a thing, but like the section above you won’t actually go out on a physical date but stay in, at your respective homes, and only talk through messages. It’s as bad as texting someone for weeks and then petering off and never actually going out on a real date to see if something is there. Only so much can be said with text and emojis, guys. Actually make an effort.
5) Virtual friends– This is a biggie. Everyone has that friend who is so determined to amass as many Facebook friends as they can, even if they reach the limit Facebook puts on the amount of friends you can have. This is extremely unhealthy for you. Like dating, friendship relationships need to be cultivated in person otherwise they will remain brittle and unstable.
6) Severe addiction– The final stage of the addiction is when you say “Hello I’m _______, I’ll see you on Facebook.” Your pet will have a Facebook page and any ding! from notifications will give you a little high, a thrill, like you’re gambling.
What do you think? Are you going to have to do some reassessing in your life? The article I got these facts from state that you may suffer from F.A.D. if you have 2-3 of these symptoms.
The cure is simple. Limit your time on Facebook. Delete it from your phone and only allow yourself certain times of the day to get on. Like any addiction, you must approach it with sensitivity, determination, and strength.
(I found my facts here, so feel free to go read more on the subject at your leisure. Also try this article. This one is pretty good too.)