Internet is the new cocaine. A new brain scan study found that not only can the internet be addicting, but it can also cause similar brain changes that occur with alcoholics and drug addicts.
Researchers compared brain scans of 17 men and women who were diagnosed with internet addiction disorder with the brain scans of 17 people who were not addicted to surfing the web. CBS notes that participants in the study were between the ages of 14 and 21 and lived in China.
The report, which was published in the Jan. 11 issue of PLoS One, said that the researchers found more “abnormal white matter” in the internet addicted individuals. Previous studies have found similar changes in “white matter” in people who are addicted to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and meth.
According to the report, the abnormal white matter can disrupt pathways in the brain related to self control and decision making.
The report reads:
“The results suggest that IAD may share psychological and neural mechanisms with other types of substance addiction and impulse control disorders.”
Other studies have shown that people addicted to video games also suffer similar symptoms. Dr. Henrietta Bowden Jones, a psychiatric who runs a clinic for Internet addicts at the Imperial College in London, told CBS:
“The majority of people we see with serious Internet addiction are gamers – people who spend long hours in roles in various games that cause them to disregard their obligations. I have seen people who stopped attending university lectures, failed their degrees or their marriages broke down because they were unable to emotionally connect with anything outside the game.”
How long have you been on the internet today? Maybe it’s time you took a break.