MANILA - Facebook users beware. Psychologists are now probing a new kind of addiction called Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).
Psychologist Dr. Michael Fenichel, who has published numerous writings on FAD online, describes it as a situation in which Facebook usage "overtakes" daily activities like waking up, getting dressed, using the telephone, or checking e-mail.
"The amazing thing is that, like cellphones, nobody seems to notice the vast amount of time and energy - at work, at home, and now while on the move - people are devoting to Facebook. It has become a given," Fenichel writes in an online post titled "Facebook Addiction Disorder- A New Challenge?"
FAD could be classified under the more broad "internet addiction disorder" or internet overuse.
Academic papers have already posed theories on internet addiction and social networking addiction, and even less, cellphone addiction.
"Like most activities, moderation and integration are key. Those that may seriously label and treat FAD as a behavioral addiction will clearly need to use context in determining if a behavior has become demonstrably harmful to overall social, work, or face-to-face interpersonal efficacy," Fenichel added.
You are a Facebook addict if...
According to Joanna Lipari, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles who was interviewed for a CNN report, here are some signs that you are addicted to Facebook:
1. You lose sleep over Facebook. When using Facebook becomes a compulsion and you spend entire nights logged on to the site, causing you to become tired the next day.
2. You spend more than an hour a day on Facebook. Lipari said it is difficult to define how much is too much when it comes to Facebook usage, but that an average person need only spend half an hour on the site.
3. You become obsessed with old loves or exes you reconnect with on Facebook.
4. You ignore work in favor of Facebook. This means you do not do your job in order to sneak time on Facebook.
5. The thought of getting off Facebook leaves you in cold sweat. If you try going a day without Facebook and it causes you stress and anxiety, this means you need help.
According to the same report by Elizabeth Cohen, Senior CNN Medical Correspondent, Facebook addiction is not yet an actual medical diagnosis.
However, the report notes that several therapists in the United States have noticed a rise in the number of clients who get hooked on social networking, to the point of social dysfunction.
Facebook, launched by the world's youngest billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, has over 300 million users worldwide, half of whom log on to the site every day.
Further, about 2 billion photos and 14 million videos are uploaded on various Facebook pages a month and about 6 billion minutes are spent on Facebook a day, worldwide.
According to Willis Wee, founder of the social media and marketing blog Penn-Olson.com, this is twice as much time that people spend on Google.The global social networking website allows users to post and share content (like photos, links, videos, and notes), play casual games and applications, and interact with friends and family through messaging and chat.