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Sunday 4 December 2016

Internet addiction affects the brain 'like a drink or drug problem'

Published 12/01/2012 | 09:46

Internet users who become dependent on being online have showed signs of changes in the brain similar to alcoholics and cocaine addicts, it was reported.

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Researchers compared brain scans of young people with "internet addiction disorder" with their peers and found damage to the white matter fibres connecting emotional processing, attention and decision making parts.



Similar impairments have been found in research into other addictions including alcohol and cocaine.



It comes after researchers at the University of Worcesters found smartphones are so addictive many users now hear "phantom vibrations" because they are desperate to receive new messages.



The scientists in China said the study could help develop a treatment, although they admitted they do not know whether the changes to the brain are the cause or consequence of internet addiction.



"The findings suggest that white matter integrity may serve as a potential new treatment target in internet addiction disorder," the team said in the Public Library of Science One journal.



Researchers compared brain scans of young people with "internet addiction disorder" with their peers and found damage to the white matter fibres connecting emotional processing, attention and decision making parts.



Similar impairments have been found in research into other addictions including alcohol and cocaine.



It comes after researchers at the University of Worcesters found smartphones are so addictive many users now hear "phantom vibrations" because they are desperate to receive new messages.



The scientists in China said the study could help develop a treatment, although they admitted they do not know whether the changes to the brain are the cause or consequence of internet addiction.



"The findings suggest that white matter integrity may serve as a potential new treatment target in internet addiction disorder," the team said.



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