The Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a new study according to which Internet addiction alters brain similar to alcohol, says the Associated Press. The study was performed on 35 people who have been diagnosed with Internet addiction. The respondents were asked to take a questionnaire and they were afterwards, subject to an MRI in order to look at their cerebral activity.
The findings of the test have revealed that the nerve fibers in the white matter of the brain are abnormal in people who suffer from Internet addictions. The levels are similar to the ones of people who suffer from gambling and alcohol addictions, which means, that the excessive use of Internet can lead to similar chemical changes in the brain.
Researchers admitted that there are several limitations to their study, so the current findings should not be regarded as definitive. According to their declarations, the results were entirely based on self-reported questionnaires; therefore, the data may contain some error classification. In order for the study to become valid and reliable, further tests need to be performed with standardized tools. The small sample size and the absence of detailed brain screenings are two other factors that make the study unreliable.
The U.K. National Health Service does not describe the study as limited, but rather as incomplete. They further stated that the researchers did not make any tests to prove that the respondents’ brain was not structured this way from the very beginning. If that be the case, it means that their brain structure is responsible for their actions and not vice versa. However, the study is very interesting, in scientists’ opinion, therefore, researchers should continue their tests.
You don’t have to worry that you suffer from Internet addiction if you spend several hours on Facebook each day. The “Yes” and “No” questions contained in the questionnaire referred to more serious aspects, such as, whether do you feel depressed or irritated when you don’t have access to the Internet. If respondents answered “Yes” to questions 1-5 and to at least one more of the remaining questions, they were classified as suffering from Internet addictions.