Health: Internet addiction changes brain structure

Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

Do you consider yourself addicted to the internet? New research has found obsessive internet users' brains present structural changes similar to those of people with drug addictions and compulsion disorders.

The results show damage to white matter fibers which connect the various areas of the brain responsible for generating and processing emotions, attention, decision making and cognitive control.

The Chinese neuro-imaging study, which assessed 17 adolescents suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), is considered ground breaking because of the links it has revealed between IAD and other addictions such as alcohol and drugs.

Consultant psychiatrist at the Imperial College London says the findings are proof of what has been a long held theory.

"We are finally been told what clinicians suspected for some time now, that white matter abnormalities in the orbito-frontal cortex and other truly significant brain areas are present not only in addictions where substances are involved but also in behavioural ones such as internet addiction."

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