Scientists have warned that using the internet for hours on end can result in withdrawal symptoms similar to the ‘comedown’ experienced by drug users. Researchers have found that spending excessive periods of time surfing the internet left people in ‘negative moods’. And, like drug addicts, when heavy internet users go back on the web their negative moods lift.
The research was carried out on 60 volunteers with an average age of 25 at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences. The results could mean society is in for some unforeseen trouble if internet use increases as expected. The results showed that 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 concluded that 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. Using the internet had a ‘striking’ impact on the positive mood of those who were addicted to the web, and their comedown was far more pronounced than those who used it less often.
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