Monday, January 31, 2011

Adolescent Addiction to Facebook

Dear Dr. Naidich,

I am very concerned about my 16 year old son who spends all of his spare time on Facebook.  He would rather facebook or play on-line video games, then actually talk with friends and our family in real life. I am starting to worry that he may be obsessed or addicted to facebook.  Any advice about helping my son? 


Facebook is the top social networking site in the world. Some people log onto their facebook accounts everyday without failing. If your son is thinking about f.b. often throughout the day to the point where it is consuming his thoughts and/or checking his sight multiple times per day to the point that it is impacting his daily functioning, then these may be signs of obsessive compulsive behavior. While facebook may help people stay in touch with friends, re-connect with old friends, make new friends, and offer ways to interact with friends like on-line games such as mafia wars, some people may forget that they have an actual life to live. If your son forgets this fact, he may start neglecting himslef and the people around him like you. This may be a sign that he is suffering from a facebook obsession. Possible triggers to facebook obsessions include: social anxiety (shyness), social isolation or loneliness, social skills deficits, desire to staying connected to local gossip, voyeurism (wandering around facebook aimlessly to see what friends of friends are up to), avoiding/procrastinating responsibilities like chores and homework. Possible signs that facebook has become a problem for him include: spending more than one hour per day on facebook, his grades are suffering or he is missing deadlines, staying up too late and having difficulty getting up for school, decreasing face to face interactions with friends and family, revealing intimate information to strangers, developing a goal to increase the number of friends with people he doesn't really know, complaints from friends and family, and the idea of going a day without checking facebook causes him stress and anxiety.

The first step in dealing with a facebook obsession is for one to recognize and admit that one has a problem that is affecting one's life. Treatment recommendations include increasing incompatible and alternative behaviors to getting on facebook such as: committing to a maximum amount of time on facebook per day knowing that the least amount of time is better (i.e. 30 minutes per day), trying to give up facebook for other events and activities such as spending more time with friends and family, exercising, and participating in after school clubs and activities. If one is unable to make progress on his own, then one should seriously consider contacting a mental health expert like a psychologist or social worker for assistance.

Children as young as 8 to 10 years old get involved with social networking today due to increased accessibility of computers and hand held game systems with wi-fi accessibility. For these younger children, social networking may serve as a way to combat loneliness and isolation, to side step social anxiety (shyness), and to practice social skills in a less awkward and non-real time environment.

It is a vicious cycle. Adolescents who are depressed may find facebook an easier way to socialize given their lethargy, fatigue, low energy, and low motivation to have face to face interactions with peers. Real world isolation probably does not cause depression, but will more than likely make it worse. Research indicates that adolescents are happier, more socially adjusted, and perform better in school when they participate in extra-curricular activities and clubs, and engage in face to face contact with peers in comparison to those adolescents that spend excessive amounts of time on the computer “socializing” and playing games.   It sounds like you are right on target with assessing the situation and trying to help your son get back to the real word!

Good Luck!

Keep me posted.

Dr. Naidich

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fed up with Fetish

Dr. Naidich, I am a 56 year old woman who has been married for over 30 years. My husband and I have two children and three wonderful grandchildren. We live in a somewhat conservative town. My husband has always been addicted to pornography which I have never liked. He is contantly watching x-rated videos and movies on the internet. On occassion, he wants me to watch the movies with him. He also has dressed in my under garments, and wanted to have intercourse with me while dressed like that. I agreed on a couple of occasions, but felt wierd about it and did not enjoy it one bit. He also used to ask me to urinate on him which I refused to do. I have never felt comfortable with my husband and his fetishes. Now, I feel repulsed and have been considering divorce unless he agrees to treatment for these problems. We went to a marriage counselor about 10 years ago for about three months. But, my husband minimized the situation, made empty promises, and is back to the same old tricks. What do you think I should do?

By Anonymous on 1/21/11

My first question, since you have been married for over 30 years, is "why are you considering a divorce NOW"? Does your husband know how you feel or that you are considering divorcing him over this issue? The first step, if you haven't already done so, is to talk with him about this in a calm, loving way. Perhaps it is time to go back to couples therapy. If he is willing, your husband could seek counseling from a sex therapist while it would be best for you to enter individual therapy to explore your feelings about your husband's behavior and your ambivalence about remaining married to him. After 30 plus years of marriage this is a big decision and one that I suggest you make thoughtfully. Best of luck! Keep me posted... Dr. Naidich

By Dr. Jennifer Naidich on Married and Mismatched at 2:11 PM

Friday, January 14, 2011

Married and Mismatched

Anonymous said...

Dr. Naidich,

I am desperately in need of some help!

My husband and I have been married for seven years. We are both from relatively conservative Greek families; and dont really believe in divorce. We have two children - five and three. My husband works as an architect in the city and we live in the suburbs. For the last year and a half, my husband stays in the city to unwind over a few drinks with male and female co-workers and customers. He also started to invest a lot more time and care into his appearance - working out, buying new clothes, etc. He is somewhat narcissistic about his appearance and has even stated that there is a bit of a mis-match in our appearances. He actually has told me several times that he was never totally attracted to me. What gets me the most angry is that at least once per week, he goes out until 2 or 3 in the morning. I tell him that he is not being a good role model for our two children. But, he minimizes this, When I get upset about this and confront him about his behavior, he denies having an affair. We went to a psychologist for counseling for a few sessions and then stopped. It was apparent that my husband was not interested in changing. The psychologist told me that I should start to focus on my self instead of trying to change my husband; and that I should make a choice/decision on if I want to continue to live like this since my husband stated that he has no intentions of changing,

I need a second opinion. What should I do?

Dr. Jennifer Naidich said...

It sounds like you are in a bind. However, I agree with the psychologist that you sought counseling from. You would be best off starting to focus on yourself. I wonder if you have a social life apart from your husband and children? I think that it is important for you to develop one if you don't already have one in place. You need to have a support network of your own. Having your own hobbies and interests will also help you to boost your self -esteem and create a richer life despite your understandable frustrations with your husband. I also recommend that you seek individual therapy for yourself with a new therapist. There is no telling which direction in which this will lead you, but I believe that this will help you to cope with a very difficult situation, empower you, teach you how to best manage your anger and then make a sound decision about how to proceed.

I wish you the best.

Keep me posted.

Dr Jennifer Naidich