back to article Twitter can trigger psychosis in users

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fill in the missing words syndrome

    Makes me even less inclined to want to use this plague on the Internet. Twitter is just like un-cool really.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought the reverse was true

    I thought you needed to have a psychosis to want to *use* Twitter...

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

      Yeah. There is. The fact that you pollute the internet with that level of disrespect for human beings.

      Putz.

      1. DN4

        Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

        All people who think some topic is taboo for jokes should be hanged.

        You are welcome.

        1. dogged
          Stop

          Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

          A prerequisite of jokes is that somebody other than the originator should find them funny.

          1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

            Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

            A prerequisite of jokes is that somebody other than the originator should find them funny.

            Well, I do. Look up "dark comedy". Granted, it's not for everyone (you must be able to distinguish between dark humour and being disrespectful, which is a wholly different kettle of fish and must IMHO be avoided), but dark comedy has a long and rich tradition, and is sometimes even the only way people can cope with *seriously* sad stuff.

        2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

          All individuals who who refuse to understand the effects of peer pressure on the vulnerable should get cholera ans shit themselves to death.

          You are welcome.

          1. Nunya Biznas
            FAIL

            Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

            That is disrespectful of insenstive people and cholera victims.

            Putz.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

              You're absolutely right. I apologise to the cholera victims.

              1. ItsNotMe
                FAIL

                Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

                @Trevor_Pott...my...my...my...haven't we gotten our Knickers in a tight bunch.

        3. Scroticus Canis
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Twitter driving Twitter-addicts to suicide?

          New category for the Darwin Awards or should Twitter and the like be banned for health and safety of the weak-minded and/or mentally unbalanced (in this case) who seem unable to not follow negative responses?

          Can't reply to the original post or even vote on it, as of 21:15 BST 9th Aug.

  4. Pete 2

    How many doctors does it take to change a twitter user?

    > A study ... based on the case ... the five doctors wrote.

    Which reminds me of the old joke:

    "Doctor, doctor! When I wave my arms over my head, I get a pain in my neck."

    and the doctor replies: "Well stop waving your arms over your head. <ding> Next patient please."

    Really. Do they have nothing better to do?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: How many doctors does it take to change a twitter user?

      "> A study ... based on the case ... the five doctors wrote."

      Isn't William Hartnell dead now?

      1. Rukario

        Re: How many doctors does it take to change a twitter user?

        > Isn't William Hartnell dead now?

        As are Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee... so three of the five doctors.

  5. jake Silver badge

    To say nothing of the addiction factor ...

    My Wife's brother's child (14 years old) was banned from using so-called "social" networking for a month[1]. She got the classic withdrawal symptoms ... shakes, sweats, angry, name it ...

    Don't believe me? Try not to feed your jones for a month. I dare you.

    [1] She ran up a huge cell phone bill.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: To say nothing of the addiction factor ...

      I can see why you're no good at Twitter, a real Twitter addict would have written 'niece' to get more into the 140-character limit.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Dan 55 (was:Re: To say nothing of the addiction factor ...)

        I did IRC and Usenet decades ago, and "talk" before that. I grok text.

        She's not my niece, she's my Wife's brother's child. Wife, brother, and child were all adopted, and share no genetic material. Being explicit makes more sense than drivel such as "Hi, I'm gud, R U?"

        I note that you didn't actually address my point ... the addiction factor.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: @Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...)

          She's not my niece, she's my Wife's brother's child.

          So she's your brother-in-law's daughter, which makes her your niece. From the OED (and all other dictionaries I checked):

          niece, noun:

          A daughter of one’s brother or sister, or of one’s brother-in-law or sister-in-law.

          Adoption makes no difference, and I doubt she'd thank her Uncle Jake for considering that her adoption made her somehow less of a family member.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @ Phil O'Sophical (was:Re: @Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...))

            She refuses to call me "uncle". I'm good with that.

            Again, try addressing my point, the addiction factor.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Phil O'Sophical (was:@Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...))

              > Again, try addressing my point, the addiction factor.

              Addiction is a known medical problem. If she suffers withdrawal-like symptoms when anything is taken away it's probably time to look for some professional guidance (for her and her parents), to help her avoid more serious problems in the future.

              I doubt you'll find suitable advice here...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ Phil O'Sophical (was:@Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...))

                "I doubt you'll find suitable advice here..."

                jake isn't looking for advice. By "address my point" he means "express awe at my insight", as usual. Despite the fact that, as pointed out by someone else, he's described typical behaviour of a teenager denied something they're really into. Been a plotline in sitcoms longer than Twitter's been around. I don't believe the symptoms bit - I regard him as what's commonly called an "unreliable narrator".

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...)

            What if, as in my case, my partner's sibling has a daughter, but I am not married to my partner? Is she still a niece?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...)

              > my partner's sibling has a daughter, but I am not married to my partner? Is she still a niece?

              Legally, no. If you and your parner have some form on civil partnership agreement it might change things, that probably depends on the law where you and they live.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Is she still a niece?

              No, just jailbait.

        2. lurker

          Re: @Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...)

          Sons and daughters of siblings-in-law are customarily referred to as niece and nephew. If you want to be anal about it you can say step-niece. "Wife's brother's child" isn't "accurate", it's silly.

        3. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: @Dan 55 (was:To say nothing of the addiction factor ...)

          I can't address your point about Twitter's addiction factor, I'm too busy with El Reg all day to bother with Twitter.

          1. Caesarius
            Pint

            @Dan 55 Re: I'm too busy with El Reg all day

            Nervous laughter.

            (And an upvote)

    2. Graham Marsden
      Boffin

      @jake - Re: To say nothing of the addiction factor ...

      > She got the classic withdrawal symptoms ... shakes, sweats, angry, name it ...

      AKA "Stroppy Teenager Syndrome"...

    3. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: To say nothing of the addiction factor ...

      "My Wife's brother's child" (female)

      Commonly called a "niece", I believe.....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To say nothing of the addiction factor ...

      Glad to see that Jake is back on form.

      Given the lack of activity recently I was starting to worry that he had been taking his medications and/or received professional psychiatric counselling.

      Maybe he's been on twitter again...

  6. hplasm Silver badge
    Boffin

    Twitter worse than Cannabis!!

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Twitter worse than Cannabis!!

      High time Mumsnet, Baroness Howe and our other great and good started expunging this scourge of modern society. Won't somebody think of the chiiiildren?

  7. graeme leggett

    what's that old axiom?

    Something about the plural of "anecdote" and data.

    more interestingly, how do they rule out occasional drug use as not a factor? (Not as in I dispute that drugs may/may not affect mental health but the methodology)

    1. Pete 2

      Re: what's that old axiom?

      > how do they rule out occasional drug use as not a factor?

      Summat like this, perhaps?

      Puff - "How do you feel now?" "I'm fine, doctor ... doctor ... doctor ... doctor ... doctor."

      Tweet - "how do you feel now? (in unison)" "Kill 'em all"

      Maybe the actual report's original title was

      Twitter can trigger Psychoanalysis in Users.

  8. g e
    Headmaster

    Never mind Twaddler

    I'm too busy with my mind's red pen correcting the English in that article.

    3/10 poor effort.

  9. Anonymous Coward 101

    I question the extent to which Twitter triggered this condition. This woman had 'Ideas of Reference', where she believed random events had huge significance for her. Wikipedia gives a number of examples of the phenomenon, and this would appear to be just another example. If Twitter didn't exist, likely something else would have caused this woman to have this delusion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideas_of_reference_and_delusions_of_reference

    1. The Mole

      " If Twitter didn't exist, likely something else would have caused this woman to have this delusion."

      And that is why this report started with the line "Twitter can trigger psychosis in predisposed users". "Predisposed" means that other things may also trigger it. The point of the report is that Twitter is one risk factor that should be considered, and the report provided evidence and explanation of why Twitter may more likely to do so than other activities (such as reading El Reg comments for instance).

  10. Charles Manning

    Nothing to do with twitter

    The damn docs just wanted something buzzwordy to get press attention.

    Nutjobs have been getting messages from deities, celebrities, dead relatives and past lives using any available medium since yonks, BC.

    Tea leaves, stone tablets found on mountains, scrolls left in caves, crystal balls, music played backwards, morse code over short wave.... of course they'll turn up on twitter too.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    re: Twitter can trigger psychosis in users

    Surely, it's the case of MI5 sending secret messages through news readers on the television. ref

  12. auburnman

    "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."

    Whatever this "Pen Fifteen" club is, I'm in it.

  13. thomas k.

    Such bonkers

    Such bonkers. Much sad. Best advising, stop tweet doing.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not unusual

    Did the researchers check whether she had watched or played Stein's;Gate earlier in her life?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The secret messages were sent..

    By the Illuminati!

    - obviously anonymous

  16. Caesarius

    Joking aside

    I used to joke about these things along with the best of them: "just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you". But having seen symptoms of psychosis, too close for comfort, it's too painful for me. The rest of you carry on.

    Various things can trigger it, e.g. stress and drugs, so it is easier to point to the drugs than twitter, especially the marijuana in this case.

    Whereas the psychiatrists investigated whether she had a history of psychosis in her family, I should have expected them to check for other mental illnesses with milder symptoms, because they also are indicative of risk.

    And yet I recall the case of some psychiatrists who wanted to prove the inadequacy of diagnosis in mental hospitals. They presented themselves as schizophrenic, acting out the symptoms, and were duly admitted. Later, they played their hand as intended, and challenged the institution for having misdiagnosed. And so they proved their point. But, having behaved in a certain way, they had actually become schizophrenic, and had to undergo treatment themselves.

    So bad behaviour can make you mentally ill. You must decide for yourselves whether Twitter is healthy.

    1. Keven E.

      Re: Joking aside

      I thought the phrase went:

      "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't out to get you".

  17. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Yes, and?

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

    A standard day of the sysadmin-developer.

    Really, what's so special?

  18. Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate

    Author says 'Twitter psychosis is not real.'

    An interesting review by someone who studies neurology:

    http://neurocritic.blogspot.ca/2014/07/twitter-psychosis-as-cultural-artifact.html

  19. John 156
    WTF?

    Trick Cyclists discover new syndrome to justify their existence

    In the bad old days, psychotics used to hear messages used to control them emanating from the radio, then the TV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trick Cyclists discover new syndrome to justify their existence

      Exactly. And before that it was woodland glades, caves, streams, mountain tops and the desert. I think that covers most of the religions whose founders sounded as though they were on something funny.

      What's more, the obsessions of psychotics follow the current obsessions of society. During the peak of Victorian religiosity, it was religious mania. Currently we have people who are, from their actions, at least possibly psychotic, going in for anti-Semitism directed against Jews with no connection to Israel.

      Perhaps the answer is for people prone to mental illness to live in small communities with limited access to the outside world, watched over by trained staff. But no, too simple.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Trick Cyclists discover new syndrome to justify their existence

        > going in for anti-Semitism directed against Jews with no connection to Israel

        What

  20. Sureo

    Reg should limit comments to 140 characters for a week. Let's see how many commentards go nuts. (One way to confirm the research.)

    1. Vic

      Reg should limit comments to 140 characters for a week. Let's see how many commentards go nuts.

      Let's see how many commentards over-ride the JS[1] used to do that :-)

      Vic.

      [1] It's always JS. Like the bloody date thing on posts.

  21. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Just one person?

    The 5 doctors are basing all this on one patient and then saying it applies to everyone? Is this a publicity stunt by FB or some other social network? Usually, or so I thought until now, after finding the first patient, they'd look around for others to corroborate their findings and then name it after the first one or the lead doctor.

    1. Scroticus Canis
      Windows

      Re: Just one person?

      Must be the inverse Freud law, one quack who based his psychotherapeutic theory (conclusions) on just five patients.

  22. Cipher
    Facepalm

    Going out on limb here...

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

    I'm betting "Anything" can trigger psychosis in predisposed users, including reading studies from teams of doctors...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    « 140 characters or less leaves too much to symbolism »

    ⸘ ‽

    1. ðøþ“ßj}²\ßð¹|²

      Max. bang for buck

      Write Twitter posts in APL?

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