Internet addiction has same effect as cocaine on brains: study
This is your brain on the Internet: Messed up where there should be connections for making decisions and having normal emotions.
Results of a new study suggest people who cannot control, cut back or stop their use of the Internet have abnormal white matter structure in the brain similar to what is seen in cocaine and crystal-meth addicts.
According to the study’s authors, as the number of people logging onto cyberspace soars, “Internet addiction disorder” — which is poised to enter the official lexicon of psychiatric illnesses — “is becoming a serious mental-health issue around the world.”
The disorder, as described in the study published this week in the journal PLoS One, is defined as “problematic” or pathological computer use that can cause “marked distress” and interfere with school, work, family and social relationships.
For their study, led by Hao Lei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, researchers scanned the brains of 17 teens and young adults, aged 14 to 24, with Internet addiction and 16 healthy “controls” of similar age.
People were classified as suffering from Internet addiction disorder, or IAD, based on a questionnaire that included the following: Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet? Do you stay online longer than originally intended? Do you feel restless, moody, depressed or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?