Facebook named an addiction?

A part of me is thinking that this is funny. The other part of me? Not so much.

A part of me is thinking that this is funny. The other part of me? Not so much.

Last week I attended a paper bag lunch, “Why are we Addicted?” which was looking at various addictions, the connections between them, and what we can do.

It caught my interest because, aside from the typical addictions such as substances or alcohol, Facebook was also listed.

A social networking site, I’ve had a Facebook profile since my college days, to help me connect to friends who’ve fled the valley for educational purposes, much as I did all those years ago.

So am I addicted to Facebook? I don’t believe so. It doesn’t impact my job and I don’t feel like my usage of it has spiralled out of control, however I do perhaps spend a little too much time on the site. Rarely a day goes by where I’ve not checked my profile to see what interesting (or not so interesting) things are going on in my friend’s lives.

What Nick Rempel, CRU clinician and RN for Smithers Mental Health and Addictions said was that regardless if the addiction is alcohol or the internet, both may stem from the same stressor and both activate the same neurotransmitter in one’s brain.

There are varying reasons or theories behind why a person becomes susceptible to addictions, ranging from genetics, an endorphin deficiency, classical conditioning or operant conditioning, he says, but ultimately, they all release some chemical in one’s brain making them more likely to do it again.

Back to the Facebook thing, though. Growing up in the digital age, I’ve never felt out of place in dealing with electronics. I may not be glued to my cellphone as the next generation seems to be, but I have a cellphone, and am comfortable in using it to call someone, text someone, or to check my email, or yes, Facebook.

But it hasn’t been unreasonable, and nor has it impacted my friendships, work, or other things in my life that I cherish. Food is another thing that I actually do find myself struggle with. More specifically, keeping it in balance and having a nutritious diet that’s not too heavy in sugars, fats, or the plethora of other food groups that nutritionists tell you to avoid (pasta, or carbohydrates, is one that I’ve put my foot down on as I adore it).

I’m getting better. I’ve nixed fast food almost entirely out of my diet with only the occasional breakdown. This is where the discussion gets funny, because during the entire conversation on addictions, how to find balance, and when to seek help, I kept thinking about a Big Mac and how much I wanted one.

So, after all this, I went charging to McDonalds for my lunch. I wish I could feel guilty as a bowl of cereal high in fibre and an apple was my lunch beforehand, but alas I find that I cannot. It was delicious. It’s about balance, after all.

— Rikki Schierer