Internet addicts and substance abusers have something in common: withdrawal symptoms.
That is the conclusion of a new internet addiction study from Swansea and Milan Universities in Europe.
In the study, sixty volunteers who were in their mid 20s at Swansea University in Wales took a batter of psychological tests to gauge their level of internet use as well as depression and other conditions. Afterwards, test subjects logged on to the web for 15 minutes, and then were retested for any effects on mood or anxiety. That’s when the withdrawal symptoms apparently kicked in for those previously determined by the testing to be heavy internet users.
Professor Phil Reed of Swansea explained the findings:
“Although we do not know exactly what Internet addiction is, our results show that around half of the young people we studied spend so much time on the net that it has negative consequences for the rest of their lives. When these people come off-line, they suffer increased negative mood – just like people coming off illegal drugs like ecstasy.”
According to Time magazine, this is first study of the possible immediate negative psychological affects of internet use.
The study, published in the PLOS One journal, also claims that “Internet addiction was associated with long-standing depression, impulsive nonconformity, and autism traits.”
In October the American Psychiatric Association took preliminary steps to classify internet addition as a full-fledged mental illness.
Are you addicted to the internet, and do you think spending excessive time online is a form of disease? Do you go through withdrawal when you log off the internet?
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