European Research Study Shows Possible Physical Evidence of Internet Addiction

A study by a group of European researchers shows physical proof of Internet withdrawal.

The Findings

A group of European scientists show that when Internet was stopped after high use, participants an average blood pressure and heart rate increase of 3-4 percent. In some participants, some rates were raised to even double that figure. These increases, although aren’t high enough to be life threatening, can be linked to “feelings of anxiety” as well as hormonal system alterations, which can affect immune system responses.

The study included 144 participants, all from the ages of 18 to 33. All participants had their blood pressures and heart rates measured before and after a session of low to high Internet use.

Comments On the Findings

“If you give people an experience that taps into lower-order human motivations, and they have a psychological need that can be soothed by the device (e.g., anxiety, boredom, depression, loneliness), they’re susceptible to behavioural addictions,” NYU’s Adam Alter said.

“As soon as you feel you’re spending more time than you’d like, that it’s hard to curb your usage, that it’s infringing on other areas of your life, and that you think about the activity when you aren’t engaged in it directly, you know you have a problem,” explained Alter.

Phil Reed, the leader of the study and professor at Swansea University in the UK, also said: “We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them, but now we can see that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual physiological changes.”

“There is now a large amount of evidence documenting the negative effects of overuse on people’s psychology, neurology, and now, in this study, on their physiology.

“Given this, we have to see a more responsible attitude to the marketing of these products by firms – like we have seen for alcohol and gambling,” noted Reed.