Internet Addiction Alters Brain Structure
Researchers in China 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.
This news 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 the China study said the results 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. Up to one in 10 internet users are thought to be addicted, becoming so absorbed in web use that they forgo food or drink for prolonged periods.