Can the internet be as addictive as drugs or alcohol

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by quest7, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. quest7 macrumors member

    quest7

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    #1
    Internet addiction is not officially recognized by doctors and other health-care authorities, but a small study done in China suggests that teens hooked to the net suffer from a form of brain damage.

    Researchers studied the brains of 17 teens and found that those addicted to the internet appear to show damage to their white matter and the fibres that connect it. This suggests that heavy internet use, like alcoholism and gambling, may be linked with cognitive impairment.

    Several psychological studies have described internet addiction as an impulse-control disorder, an overwhelming desire to stay online that impairs an individual's ability to function on a day-to-day basis.

    The authors of this new research say that internet addiction "may share psychological and neural mechanisms with other types of substance addiction."

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunit...rnet-be-as-addictive-as-drugs-or-alcohol.html
     
  2. ender land macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    I think it'd be interesting to add a poll to this thread asking something like "should you be doing something else right now?"

    ;)
     
  3. Votekinky06 macrumors 6502

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  4. BreakGuy macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I was thinking this too when I read it and thought it's probably nothing more than coincidence. A sample size of 1700 would produce far more accurate results.
     
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

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    Maybe but generally speaking when starting research like this they are just looking for a proof of concept so to speak to see if it is worth spending the time and money for a much larger sample size.
     
  6. ag3nt47 macrumors member

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    I think it can be addicting, especially now that social networking and constant updates over the internet have become so popular. Before Facebook was so popular and some felt the compelling need to update their status every time they changed activities of the day, maybe not so many people felt an addiction to it. It's not just social networks either. News, blogs, personal web pages / forms, etc, they all fall under the category of things that most people feel the need to check, but don't really need to. I don't consider myself "addicted" to the internet (like I am to caffeine), but I'm sure some would argue that maybe I do spend a more time on the web than necessary per day. A lot of people would probably tell you that they don't spend too much time on the internet, but they probably fail to consider every time they check their smartphone for email, apps, etc. If it accessed your carriers data plan, guess what.. it was the internet. Just my two cents.
     
  7. eric/ Guest

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    #7
    Yes. You can be addicted to many things, and the Internet is certainly one of them. Though I think except extreme cases, Internet addiction isn't life threatening or impairing.
     
  8. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

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    I agree with you although usually when it because life-threatning it tends to be linked with other issues and internet addiction may just add to the problems..

    On the other hand i do think internet addiction would have an extreme impact upon social life-isolation, loss of friends and family contact.... the list goes on.
     
  9. Dagless macrumors Core

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    Anything that can be physically or mentally processed can be addictive. Gambling, cannabis, games, skydiving, etc. Psychological addiction.

    So I'd say the internet could be addictive.
     
  10. Pixellated macrumors 65816

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    Surely anything that you enjoy is addictive... Because you'd want to do it again, wouldn't you?
     
  11. quest7 thread starter macrumors member

    quest7

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  12. kolax macrumors G3

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    #12
    I can go a week without a drink of alcohol and other drugs I've done during my rather stupid first year of uni I never got addicted to.

    The internet, if I go 24 hours disconnected, it isn't a particularly nice feeling, and I must get my fix.

    Though, I went on holiday for 2 weeks last summer, and couldn't find any WiFi for my iPhone. Was surprisingly refreshing, felt like a weight off my shoulders. I ended up watching the local TV news bulletin in a beach bar to see what was going on in the world. Watch the news on the TV? Man, it felt like the 90s.
     
  13. chrono1081 macrumors 604

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    #13
    Its similar with me too. If I can have internet, I need it. If I am forced to go without it its refreshing (although very restricting since most of my stuff I do relies on the internet). It sucked not being able to download new textures to work on a 3D project ;)
     
  14. Fazzy macrumors 6502

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    #14
  15. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

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    i got 30-average user.
     
  16. wordoflife macrumors 604

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    I got a 24 on that test.

    I do think the internet can be addictive though. Maybe not physically such as drugs, but mentally it can be just as strong.
     
  17. renewed macrumors 68040

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  18. eawmp1 macrumors 601

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  19. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    #19
    Christ, NOOOOOO!!! I'd have to go back t-t-t-to TV. :eek:
     
  20. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

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    #20
    56; but expected 42 :rolleyes:

    Of course it can be addictive; my wife twitter like hell; i have my iPhone with me on the "throne". I guess that's cleary a sign ...
     
  21. rowley macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Whoa - I scored 69

    That has nothing to do with what I use the internet for of course.
     
  22. Fazzy macrumors 6502

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    So can I..
    Just let me check youtube, Macrumors and my email first though. Oh, and I need to watch that show on BBC iPlayer. And let me see if I won that ebay item i bid on. :p
     
  23. VulchR macrumors 68020

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    #23
    I've studied the brain's reward system in 4 different species (humans included), so FWIW this is my educated opinion:

    I would have a healthy skepticism about equating white matter damage with addiction. Damage to white matter is a fairly generic form of damage. It can happen for a lot of reasons, including simply old age. Also, it's hard to tell whether apparent brain abnormalities make people vulnerable to addiction, the abnormalities are caused by addictive behaviour, or the abnormalities are caused by the absence of healthy behaviours (lack of sleep, poor nutrition due to a bad diet).

    Typically if one wants to look for evidence of addiction there are behavioural criteria, the most important of which is impaired everyday function with respect to family, money, employment, the law etc. There is some evidence that compulsive internet use can cause that kind of impairment.

    Also, there are brain patterns that seem to be related to addiction, including activation of the midbrain areas that use dopamine as a neurotransmitter, the basal ganglia, the amygdala and parts of the prefrontal cortex. I haven't seen any peer-reviewed papers in regard to plain web surfing and brain activation. However, there are several papers on brain activation and video gaming (including internet gaming), and the pattern of activation is just like that seen in other rewarding activities, including eating, drinking, sex, and also drug-taking. The problem is that drugs activate the same circuits as natural rewards, so its hard to tell the difference between brain activation due to normal pleasure versus abnormal brain activation that results in the brain rewiring we believe leads to addiction (that's right kiddies, taking drugs changes connections among neurons, rewiring the brain, even if you feel no adverse effects).

    I believe the evidence is strong enough that video gaming can be addictive that I personally cringe any time I see a young person playing a games console. If it turns out that gaming is addictive, it'll probably be like drugs, with about 10% of the population being rather vulnerable to it.
     
  24. Dagless macrumors Core

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  25. KOZOK macrumors member

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    I got a 13.. I thought it was interesting that it doesn't take scores under 20 into account and just lumps them into the "You are an average on-line user. You may surf the Web a bit too long at times, but you have control over your usage." category. Which basically just confirms my belief that any time spent online is too much and the internet is a big waste of time and effort.
     

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