Feeds

Twitter can trigger psychosis in users

140 characters or less leaves too much to symbolism, study finds

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Twitter can trigger psychosis in predisposed users, according to a team of doctors from the Universitätsmedizin hospital in Berlin.

A study Twitter Psychosis A Rare Variation or a Distinct Syndrome? concluded that Twitter may have "a high potential to induce psychosis in predisposed users" based on the case of a 31 year-old woman who developed the condition from spending too much time reading and writing in 140 characters or less.

The unnamed woman named "Mrs C" imagined non-existent connections between tweets sent from random users that she during the time of her psychosis considered to be hidden messages from a celebrity.

Mrs C then saw these connections in the real world and began to follow what she considered tasks set by a organisation, likely a sect, for her to complete.

"Sometimes, she would spend several hours a day reading and writing messages, neglecting her social relationships and, sometimes, even meals and regular sleeping hours," the five doctors wrote in the paper.

"She finally felt increasingly desperate because she could not fulfill all of the tasks, became increasingly afraid of what would happen to her if she did not, and finally, developed intense suicidal thoughts."

The state of psychosis, defined as a state of mind in which conscious reality is distorted or lost, was aggregated by her highly specialised university studies and employment and relationship failures.

Mrs C did not have a history of psychosis in her family history and her occasional marijuana use was found to have not contributed to the condition.

Rather it could be, the authors suggested, that the ambiguity caused by abrupt tweets could itself trigger psychosis in predisposed users.

"The authors believe that the amount of symbolic language (caused by the limitation of 140 characters per Twitter message), the automated spam responses with seemingly related content, and the general interactive features of Twitter might combine several aspects that could induce or further aggravate psychosis," they wrote.

Twitter was one of many technology platform to cause mental health problems in users, often referred to internet addiction, internet gaming disorder or problematic internet use. English Professor Ryan van Cleave said in 2011 that addiction to World of Warcraft nearly cost him his job and family.

McLean Hospital psychologist Dr. Maressa Hecht-Orzack in the same year estimated that 40 percent of the game's players were addicted.®

Australian readers seeking support and information about suicide can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.