Science

Research Study: Could Internet Addiction Be An Effect Of Mental Health Problems?

By Tala Valerio , Sep 20, 2016 02:44 AM EDT

Vienna, Austria - McMaster University of Canada spearheaded by Michael Van Ameringen as the director of McMaster's Anxiety Research Centre conducted a study on internet addiction with a total of 254 students who underwent a research study to identify internet addiction among college student presented on the annual event at the 29th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress dated September 17, 2016 to September 20, 2016.

ABOUT THE STUDY

The research team used two tools for the study. The Internet Addiction Test (IAT) could be obsolete since it was developed way back in the year 1998 where smartphones aren't a thing yet, so they also used their own and new internet addiction tool considering modern factors like video streaming, social media, working online; and the like.

Results

With 254 students, 33 of them met internet addiction based on IAT criteria and 107 students for Ameringen's research team tool. With the percentage of 55.8, students found to have difficulty in controlling practice of video streaming, 47.9 percent are glued to social media and 28.5 percent are into using instant messaging tools.

MENTAL HEALTH ASSESMENT

Students who resulted to positive addiction "...had significantly more trouble dealing with their day to day activities, including life at home, at work, school, and in social settings," stated  by Michael Van Ameringen, the Chief Researcher at McMaster University.

It was also found out that they have significantly higher amounts of anxiety and depression, difficulty in time management and planning, as well as ADHD symptoms and impulsiveness.

INTERNET ADDICTION SIGNS

According to Illionois Institute for Addiction Recovery, there are several red flags that you have to look out for in spotting someone who has internet addiction. Who knows, maybe you could fall into this catefory as well.

It ranges from behaviors of being preoccupied or having the thoughts and anticipation on internet interaction, increased quantity of time for pleasure or longer time than intended, failure to cut back or stop internet usage, and/or feeling of irritability or restlessness when attempts of cutting down takes place.

Also jeopardize relationship and lies with significant others, school and work for the sake of internet use, and a way to escape life situation from problems, anxiety, depression, hopelessness and guilt.

 MEDICAL IMPLICATION

The internet is so easy to access and people are somewhat hooked to the pleasure they derive from it but it could lead to addiction and could trigger more serious health problems that would need immediate medical attention. As stated by Ameringen in ECNP, "This may have practical medical implications. If you are trying to treat someone for an addiction when in fact they are anxious or depressed​, then you may be going down the wrong route."

On the other hand, Jan Buitelaar, professor at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre commented that "Excessive use of the internet is an understudied phenomenon that may disguise mild or severe psychopathology; excessive use of the internet may be strongly linked to compulsive behaviour and addiction; as the authors say, further study is needed in larger populations."

But the question is, could internet addiction be affecting human's social and mental behavior or could it possibly be the other way around?

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