With social networking sites becoming more of a substitute for families, it is the women who are most affected by it, as they derive their self worth from relationships with others and Facebook compels them to 'acquire' hundreds of friends, experts say.
According to David Smallwood, an addictions expert with the Priory clinic, at least 10 per cent of the population were vulnerable to 'friendship addiction'.
He further stressed that the site was not suitable for people recovering from drug, alcohol and shopping addictions, and that it could increase feelings of rejection through the friend 'request' function.
Anyone who is rejected cannot then access the webpage of the person who refused the original request.
"Acquisition of friends is like any other fix but it's competitive. You judge yourself by how many friends you have online. You go out of your way to amass friends and that means people bend out of shape and become something they are not," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
"To appear successful, you go and put yourself in credit card debt by buying clothes and handbags. I see patients who are on Facebook and my response is 'get yourself off it'.
"If you're an addict you need to do things to fix yourself and make yourself feel better. People in recovery look for ways of being 'fixed' and these websites can act the same way," he added.