Facebook Affects Users ‘Like An Addictive Drug’, Scientist Says

A scientist has warned that Facebook users suffer some of the same effects as drug users when they respond to the social network.

Professor Ofir Turel of California State University, Fullerton, explained that up to 11% of people in Western countries are thought to suffer some form of technology addiction.

Turel says that brain scans show that Facebook users respond with the same ‘impulsive’ surge as drug users when shown images of the site.

Professor Turel of California State University, Fullerton, monitored the brains of 20 volunteers – and found that the amygdala-striatal system, involved in drug addiction, was affected when they saw images related to Facebook.

But there are differences, Turel says.

Turel says, ‘The impulsive system can be thought of as a car’s accelerator, while the inhibitory system can be likened to a brake.

‘In addictions, there is very strong acceleration associated with the impulsive system often coupled with a malfunctioning inhibitory system.’

Turel says, ‘The participants responded to Facebook stimuli faster than they did to road signs.

‘This is scary when you think about it, since it means that users might respond to a Facebook message on their mobile device before reacting to traffic conditions if they are using technology while on the road.’

But the inhibitory system – also involved in drug addiction – didn’t seem to be affected,

Turel said, ‘This is good news, since it means that the behavior can be corrected with treatment. We speculate that addictive behavior in this case stems from low motivation to control the behavior, which is due partly to the relatively benign societal and personal consequences of technology overuse, compared to, say, substance abuse.’