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Internet addiction may cause brain damage


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...A study finds that Internet addiction may actually damage the brain -- the same as too much alcohol or drugs.

For the study, published in the Jan. 11 issue of PLoS One, researchers studied 17 men and women who were diagnosed with Internet addiction disorder (IAD) and compared scans of their brains to scans of 16 healthy people who weren't addicted to the web. Study participants were between the ages of 14 and 21 and lived in China.

The researchers found more patterns of "abnormal white matter" on brain scans of Internet addicts, compared with scans of non-addicts. White matter areas in the brain contain nerve fibers that transmit signals to other parts of the brain.

These changes showed evidence of disrupting pathways related to emotions, decision-making, and self control.

Digital addiction may damage your brain: Study - CBS News
This study is a couple years old now, but I first heard about it last night and thought it was interesting. The study says "internet addiction," but I wonder if that includes electronic devices in general. I mean, what is it about the internet specifically that would change brain chemistry but not something like being on a mobile device 24/7?

Anyway, this study reminded me of the study linking marijuana use to brain damage that Van mentioned a few months back, which he cited as a reason for using marijuana to be "extremely stupid."

This just goes to show that it's not only drugs and alcohol that can fry your brain. There are things we depend on every day that can be just as bad for you.


Free Spirit
Staff member
I've also read where porn addiction can mess with your brain too. So it doesn't surprise me this also can.

When it comes to most anything the key is moderation I guess.
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Registered Member
I would be curious to know what they were doing in these studies on the internet. If they are sitting around playing video games and watching tubes all day then no wonder. If they spend most of there time reading, writing, taking part in discussions, and other things like that I would expect it to stimulate the brain.


Well-Known Member
What defines addiction here? That's one thing that's never clear about articles like this.

I use the internet a lot. Am I addicted? I would actually say no, I'm not. I use the internet for tons of educational purposes every single day but I also use it for entertainment. Everyone draws the line in a different spot though.

No doubt, being addicted to anything at all can cause brain damage.


Free Spirit
Staff member
I'm thinking internet addiction would be if you can't walk away from it. You feel a need to be on there all the time and it bothers you to the big time if you aren't online. Like with porn addiction, you can't stay away from it for one day and it turns into something more important to you than your family. I guess it goes from a tool to help you to something you are a slave to.

I'm online a lot but it doesn't bother me not to be. I can walk away from it and go do something else without getting withdrawal symptoms. If there is such a thing with this type of addiction.