Think your kid or spouse is as addicted to the Internet as a junkie is to drugs? You might be right.
Chinese researchers have found people with what they termed “Internet addiction disorder” (IAD) have abnormal brain structures similar to those in people with other substance addictions and have trouble controlling their impulses.
The study, published in the online journal Public Library of Science, found that Internet addicts have abnormal structures in the areas of the brain involved in emotional responses, attention, decision making, and cognitive control.
The researchers, led by Hao Lei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, said these features may be linked to behavioral impairments and provide a new way to study and treat impulse disorders.
Previous studies of IAD have mostly focused on psychological questionnaires. But Lei’s study -- partially supported by Natural Science Foundation of China -- used an MRI technique to monitor the brains in 18 adolescents suffering from IAD.
As many as one in 10 people who use the Internet may have some form of IAD, researchers have estimated.