Facebook Addiction

When You Spend Excessive Time on Facebook and It Interferes With Life

People on phones
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Facebook addiction means spending an excessive amount of time on Facebook. Typically, it involves a person's Facebook use interfering with important activities in life, such as work, school or maintaining relationships with family and "real" friends.

Addiction is a strong word, and someone can have a problem with Facebook without having a full-blown addiction. Some call this emerging type of addictive behavior "Facebook addiction disorder" or FAD, but the syndrome is not widely acknowledged as a psychological disorder, though it is being studied by psychologists.

Also Known As: Addicted to Facebook, Internet addiction, Facebook addiction disorder, Facebook addiction syndrome, Facebook addict, Facebook OCD, Facebook fanatic, lost in Facebook

Signs of Facebook Addiction

A small number of studies associate social network site addiction with health-related, academic, and interpersonal problems. Those who use social networks excessively may have a decrease in real life social community participation, a decrease in academic achievement, and relationship problems.

Signs and symptoms of Facebook addiction vary, The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale was developed by Norwegian researchers and published in the journal Psychological Reports in April 2012. It includes six questions and you answer each on a scale of one to five: very rarely, rarely, sometimes, often, and very often. Scoring often or very often on four of the six items suggests you have a Facebook addiction.

  1. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it.
  2. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
  3. You use Facebook in order to forget about personal problems.
  4. You have tried to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
  5. You become restless or troubled if you are prohibited from using Facebook.
  1. You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies.

Controlling Excessive Use of Facebook

Strategies for getting Facebook addiction under control vary. Psychological studies for social network site addiction are ongoing and now well-documented treatment was found in reviews in 2014.

One of the first steps is to measure the amount of time you spend on Facebook. Keep a journal of your Facebook time so you know the extent of your problem. You may then decide to set a time limit for yourself and continue to keep records to see if you are able to reduce your Facebook time.

Going cold turkey is a strategy used for many other addictions, such as tobacco or alcohol use. Is deleting or deactivating your account the right tactic if you are spending too much time on Facebook? There are differences between the two. Deactivating takes a temporary break, hiding most of your data from other Facebook users, but you are able to reactivate at any time. If you choose to delete your account, your data other than messages you sent to others will not be retrievable.


Andreassen C, Pallesen S. Social network site addiction - an overview. Current pharmaceutical design. 2013;20(25):4053–61. 

Andreassen C, Torsheim T, Brunborg G, Pallesen S. Development of a Facebook addiction scale. Psychological reports. 2012;110(2):501–17.

Kuss DJ, Griffiths MD. Online social networking and Addiction—A review of the psychological literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011;8(12):3528–3552. doi:10.3390/ijerph8093528.

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