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Therapists say Facebook affecting users' emotions

READ MORE: Therapists say Facebook affecting users' emotions
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- "Facebook me" and "Tweet me" are phrases that have become part of everyday life. But is social media controlling the way we feel?

Many of us are on Facebook, but psychologists are seeing more and more patients whose emotions and symptoms triggered by social media.

"The social media has presented a new challenge for me that I have had to learn what it means, what the implications are," therapist Dr. George Gates said. "There aren't books that you can go back to. The people that we see are the books. They help us understand what it is that happens to people.

Gates has seen the effects of social media through his patients. People can feel depressed when their status or comments go unnoticed or when something appears online they did not want all the world to see.

"I found that people become devastated when they are not acknowledged as they wish they would be, when people reflect on them, when people get caught in photos that are less than flattering," Gates said. "Some folks don't realize that this stuff stays out there forever."

On top of those feelings Gates said social media can also make people paranoid and obsessed. Some Facebook users we spoke with agree with what therapists like gates are seeing.

"My mom, she uses Facebook every day, and she gets on there like every 15 minutes, so Facebook is really an addiction to some people," Jareema Butler said.

Jalisa Price said she thinks it can make people paranoid and even depressed.

"I had a friend the other day who put something up there that wasn't suppose to be up there, and somebody (saw) it and got very depressed," Price said.

So with social media stirring up problems for some, Gates has advice for those caught up on the web.

"I don't think the wise advice is to avoid," he said. "I think wise advice is to find a way to make it work for you, but not becoming a slave to it."

According to a Nielsen survey of 1,700 US Internet users, 73 percent engaged in social media at least once per week. The research says the total US social media audience is at 127 million.

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