According to a new study by Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences, located in Wales, using the internet for hours can result in withdrawal symptoms similar to what drug users experience.
The study, published in the international journal Plus One, said that spending excessive periods of time on the web left people in "negative moods," but heavy internet users often went back on the web their negative moods lift, reports the Daily Mail.
The study was carried out on 60 volunteers with an average age of 25.
"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," said Professor Phil Reed, of the university’s psychology department. "When people come offline, they suffer increased negative mood, just like people coming off illegal drugs like ecstasy. These initial results, and related studies of brain function, suggest that there are some nasty surprises lurking on the net for people’s wellbeing."
The study said: "The negative impact of excessive internet use can be seen across a wide range of aspects of the addict’s life. Internet addiction was associated with long-standing depression, impulsive non-conformity, and autism traits."
While using the web had a strong impact on the positive mood of those who were addicted to the web, and their comedown was far worse than people who used it less often. The withdrawal symptoms may promote a vicious cycle.
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The study concluded: "The immediate negative impact of exposure to the internet on the mood of internet addicts may contribute to increased usage by those individuals attempting to reduce their low mood by re-engaging rapidly in internet use.’
Source: Daily Mail