fbtwitterSpending large amounts of time on Twitter and other forms of social media can trigger psychosis in vulnerable people, according to a team of doctors in Germany.

Their study found that Twitter could have a "high potential to induce psychosis in predisposed users" after observing that a 31-year-old Berlin woman's use of social media for "several hours a day" was a major factor in her hospitalisation.

She had come to believe that celebrities were using Twitter to reach out to her, and said there were hidden symbols in her news feed.

After further research, the researchers concluded that Twitter could "induce or aggravate" psychosis.

Further reading: Does Early Intervention for Psychosis Services Make Economic Sense?

Study lead Dr Jan Kalbitzer said: "She finally felt increasingly desperate because she could not fulfil all of the tasks, became increasingly afraid of what would happen to her if she did not, and finally, developed intense suicidal thoughts.

"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."

The woman had no history of psychosis, and nor did her family. Psychosis is defined as a state of mind in which conscious reality is distorted or lost.

To download the full article go to: http://journals.lww.com/jonmd/Abstract/2014/08000/Twitter_Psychosis__A_Rare_Variation_or_a_Distinct.10.aspx