GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English

SPONSORS

Powered by cricketnext logo

Stopping Internet Use Can Cause Physical Withdrawal Symptoms, Increase Anxiety

European research has found that those who use the internet a lot can experience withdrawal symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure when they finish an internet session.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:June 2, 2017, 11:31 AM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
Stopping Internet Use Can Cause Physical Withdrawal Symptoms, Increase Anxiety
Those dependent on the internet experience increased heart rate and blood pressure when they stop internet use a new study has found. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Geber86/ Istock.com)

European research has found that those who use the internet a lot can experience withdrawal symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure when they finish an internet session.

Carried out by a team of researchers from Swansea University, Wales, and Milan University, Italy, the study is the first to use a controlled experiment to show physiological changes as a result of internet exposure.

For the research the team recruited 144 participants aged 18 to 33 years, and measured their heart rate and blood pressure before and after a brief internet session.

Participants also reported on their internet addiction and feelings of anxiety.

The team found that participants spent an average of 5 hours a day on the internet, with 20% spending over 6 hours a day on the internet. The researchers noted that the most commonly reported reasons by far for internet use were for using social media and shopping.

In addition, over 40% of participants acknowledged that they spend too much time online and reported some level of internet-related problem.

The measurements taken showed that those with a problematic level of internet use experienced an increase in physiological arousal -- shown by increases in heart rate and blood pressure -- as soon as they finished their internet session.

These participants showed on average a 3-4% increase in heart rate and blood pressure compared to before using the internet, although in some cases it was double that amount, and these physiological increases were accompanied by increased feelings of anxiety.

However, changes were not seen in those who didn't have any problems with their levels of internet use.

Although the team pointed out that this increase is not enough to be life-threatening, as well as being associated with feelings of anxiety it can also change the hormonal system in such a way that can reduce immune responses.

Co-author Professor Roberto Truzoli of Milan University, noted, "Whether problematic internet use turns out to be an addiction -- involving physiological and psychological withdrawal effects -- or whether compulsions are involved that do not necessitate such withdrawal effects -- is yet to be seen, but these results seem to show that, for some people, it is likely to be an addiction."

The team suggested that it could be these withdrawal effects -- similar to those seen when withdrawing from drugs such as alcohol, cannabis, and heroin -- that causes internet uses to log back on, in an effort to reduce these unpleasant feelings.

Previous studies by the team and others have also shown that those dependent on technology experience short-term increases in self-reported anxiety when without their digital device, and in the long-term also experience increases in depression and loneliness, changes in the brain structures, and even a reduced capability to fight infections.

The study can be found published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

Read full article
Next Story
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp

Live TV