New Study Shows Internet Addiction is Real reports Way Path
Subjects suffer from “comedown”
The study was handled by the Swansea and Milan Universities, and is the first into an immediate negative psychological impact of internet use.
There were sixty volunteers in the study, with an average age of 25, who were all tested to determine their level of Internet use. Those who were particularly obsessive or had negative social effects due to the internet use were most interesting for the study.
The subjects were then told to surf the net, visiting sites and so forth for 15 minutes, after which they were tested for their mood and levels of general anxiety. The subjects who were previously noted as being addicted to the internet were reported as having increased negative moods after they stopped suffering the net. Researchers noted it as a “comedown” of sorts and that it was not unlike those moods experienced by drug users when in use of of the drug ecstasy.
Professor Phil Reed, who was part of the study and is based in Swansea University's College of Human and Health Sciences, wrote: “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. These initial results, and related studies of brain function, suggest that there are some nasty surprises lurking on the net for people’s wellbeing.”
Although there are rehab clinics that deal with specific problems of internet addiction, it is not a recognized psychiatric disorder.
“What the American Psychiatric Association have done is flag it up as a potential problem that requires further investigation. That’s the first step in it becoming a true disorder in its own right,” Professor Reed tells TIME. However, he cautions, any of the study’s results relating to “internet addiction” could also be symptoms of other potentially addictive online activities: if someone is addicted to gambling, for example, then they might be using the Internet excessively to access gambling sites. But while Reed acknowledges that Internet addiction may be secondary, “my own view is we’re probably looking at a new disorder here.”
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