Addicted to Facebook? What to look out for

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Phoenix psychiatrist Michael Yasinski is currently treating patients who suffer from Facebook addiction.

Facebook, "utilizes the same chemicals that other drugs do to stimulate the reward centers in your brain. Just like other drugs, it gives you that high of pleasure," said Yasinski.

There are estimates that as many as 350 million people have Facebook addictions.

Nearly a billion people have Facebook pages, and 500 million check the web site daily, so how do you know if you've crossed the line into addiction? A recent study published in "Psychological Reports" introduces the Bergen Facebook Addiction scale, which provides a number of factors to look out for.

They include using Facebook as an escape for your problems, letting the website interfere with your job or relationships, and depression like symptoms after logging off.

Treatment for Facebook addiction can range from behavioral therapy to prescription drugs.

Withdrawal symptoms can include inability to sleep, sweating, and nervousness.

Facebook's recent IPO is causing even more problems for addicts, who might try to buy stock as they look for a way to make a connection with the company. Yasinski says that could be dangerous for patients who already have an addictive personality.

"Its scary that they can make bad decisions. For one they’re already addictive, but then are these people going to give their life savings to buy into Facebook? Are they going to spend money inappropriately?"