Study: The Internet Is Cocaine

Study: The Internet Is Cocaine

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A study of internet addict's brains finds similar patterns to those addicted to narcotics.

We all know that endlessly clicking through TV Tropes or Reddit can be pretty damn addicting. Yesterday's blackouts certainly proved the power of such websites. But a new study published in the open but peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS One concludes that individuals can become as addicted to the internet as they can to hard drugs like cocaine or heroin. What's more, the researchers found that changes to brain architecture associated with addictive internet use are the same as those produced through such drug use.

"Our findings suggest that Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) demonstrated widespread reductions of fractional anisotropy (FA) in major white matter pathways and such abnormal white matter structure may be linked to some behavioral impairments," the study concludes.

The experiments were conducted in China and led by Fuchun Lin from the State Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance and Atomic and Molecular Physics. The team separated 18 "internet addicts" from a control group of 15 healthy folks and scanned all of their brains. The addicts showed "significantly lower FA than controls throughout the brain" which demonstrated such scans as a possible way to test for the condition.

"In addition, white matter integrity may serve as a potential new treatment target and FA may be as a qualified biomarker to understand the underlying neural mechanisms of injury or to assess the effectiveness of specific early interventions in IAD," the study continued.

While I'm interested in the pursuit of all knowledge, this study from a state run medical center in China seems a bit ... forced. I'm not convinced internet addiction is a real thing and comparing it to drug addiction is troublesome at best. On the other hand, there is some credence to the idea that dependence on any one thing (be it gaming, the internet or crystal meth) would have the same biological effect on our brains.

In conclusion: This is the internet. This is your brain on the internet. Any questions?

Source: PLoS ONE

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I have no doubt that internet addiction is possible. It is very addicting.

This comes from China? Well, then it's probably really biased against the internet and thus isn't true. Don't get me wrong, I believe you can get addicted to the Internet (You can get addicted to anything really), but I highly doubt it's as bad or does the same thing as Cocaine.

Hmmm China...

but then again, hmmm peer-reviewed

hmm...

>_>

oh well, back to the Internet

After all these years trying to stay clean!

Internet, how could you lie to me like that!

....

back to tvtropes....

This explains so much about my life.

And yet...gotta keep that Dopamine flowing. -Goes back to SPAZ-

That explains all this white powder on my keyboard...

I'll be here all weekend.

I'm sorry, but I refuse to believe the internet could possibly be as addicting as cocaine or heroine. You never really hear about the internet ruining peoples lives the way cocaine does, or am I just completely out of the loop and there are people out there who have sold their personal belongings to pay the Wi-Fi bill?

What they fail to mention of course is that hard drugs are physically addictive, while the internet is psychologically addictive, an important distinction. The patterns are similar, the causes are not.

Problem. I won't get the shakes if you suddenly cut me off. The only REAL reason I'll be mad is if you were to do that, keeping me from talking to distant people that are my friends and colleagues, not to mention my girlfriend. In short, I'm addicted to people. The internet is the needle, not the drug.

"The experiments were conducted in China..." China regularly censors the internet so its citizens don't get any funny ideas like they should be making more than $1 an hour to make iPhones and Xboxes.

Is there a 12 step program out there for me?

...

No reason, just wondering.

I've never typed "reddit" or "tvtropes" into an address or search bar. Never perused their goods.

Hmm...

Also, while China has it's issues, it's good to see people aren't stereotyping/being prejudiced against anything that comes from there......

People also like to claim marijuana isn't addictive when clearly it is, so I think this study has some truth to it. Comparing it to super hard drugs might be a little too sensational, but I hardly think that should detract from the overall message.

Makes sense..... internet is awesome, cocaine is awesome. Brains just like awesome. Rewrote that whole article in one sentance.

In all seriousness.... it's just pleasure centers of your brain firing up. It's just the endorphins you secrete when you are doing something that makes you happy. Which can be brought on by an entire plethora of things that are in no way similar.

Also....cocaine is such a fast burning drug that you can't become chemically addicted to like like say alchohol, nicotene, opiates. What people become addicted to is the high you get, not the chemical dependance of the drug itself. Within 12-18 hours of using it you are clean and the receptors in your brain no longer crave it or want it, no matter if it's your first time or have been taking mass amounts for years. It's actually quite a fascinating and unique substance.

Greg Tito:
Study: The Internet Is Cocaine

Scientific Rebuttal (from last week): No, it isn't.

Forgetting the minimal control groups, the obvious bias, the nonsensical results and the obvious agenda, it is not - and can never be.

Anyone believing this garbage has a far greater problem.

So if the internet itself can be likened to cocaine, then where does the ever-loved TvTropes stand on this scale?

I'm pretty sure internet addiction is real to some degree. I should have been revising for my GCSEs for the last few weeks but I haven't. I hardly even play games any more, I just click away on the internet. However, I'm pretty sure it's not as bad as cocaine.

I should take up hiking or something...

Part of me wants to point out how stupid this is by providing a shooped pic of Dr. Rockso to exaggerate the ridiculousness. The other half of me still hasn't figured out how to post images in BBCode. So I guess I'm not as much of an addict as I thought.

Wolfram01:
I've never typed "reddit" or "tvtropes" into an address or search bar. Never perused their goods.

Hmm...

Also, while China has it's issues, it's good to see people aren't stereotyping/being prejudiced against anything that comes from there......

People also like to claim marijuana isn't addictive when clearly it is, so I think this study has some truth to it. Comparing it to super hard drugs might be a little too sensational, but I hardly think that should detract from the overall message.

Is to some people, but that doesn't make it inherently addictive, I've had months where I've just chain smoked it all day every day, then next month had nothing all month, and been absolutely fine, sure I'd prefer to have it because I love being stoned, but I don't get withdrawals or cravings, sure cocaine, heroin and the like are addictive but LSD, shrooms and weed aint addictive unless someone psychologically develops a dependence on them, in which case, it's a willpower problem rather than an actually addictive one.

To quote Trent Reznor, "You are the perfect drug...."

Shame they released this while Wikipedia was down, otherwise someone could've pointed them at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addictive_personality and saved us all the trouble.

hmm I call bullshit on this one

now time...to refresh...gotta see if I have a message..gotta see that sweet sweet yellow envelope Icon........need a message...need a quote!

Cocaine? Always leaves me Feeling more like weed to me
Xbox Live, now THAT is crack.

Vault101:
hmm I call bullshit on this one

now time...to refresh...gotta see if I have a message..gotta see that sweet sweet yellow envelope Icon........need a message...need a quote!

Love gotta love that envelope

DVS BSTrD:
Cocaine? Always leaves me Feeling more like weed to me
Xbox Live, now THAT is crack.

Vault101:
hmm I call bullshit on this one

now time...to refresh...gotta see if I have a message..gotta see that sweet sweet yellow envelope Icon........need a message...need a quote!

Love gotta love that envelope

*gasp* EUPHORIA....annnd, now its gone again :(

elvor0:

Wolfram01:
I've never typed "reddit" or "tvtropes" into an address or search bar. Never perused their goods.

Hmm...

Also, while China has it's issues, it's good to see people aren't stereotyping/being prejudiced against anything that comes from there......

People also like to claim marijuana isn't addictive when clearly it is, so I think this study has some truth to it. Comparing it to super hard drugs might be a little too sensational, but I hardly think that should detract from the overall message.

Is to some people, but that doesn't make it inherently addictive, I've had months where I've just chain smoked it all day every day, then next month had nothing all month, and been absolutely fine, sure I'd prefer to have it because I love being stoned, but I don't get withdrawals or cravings, sure cocaine, heroin and the like are addictive but LSD, shrooms and weed aint addictive unless someone psychologically develops a dependence on them, in which case, it's a willpower problem rather than an actually addictive one.

I hear weed is petty bad if its like the ONLY thing you do, as it makes you lazy/unambitious

not saying its addictive though..caffine is more addictive

I spend almost all my waking hours on the internet, but when I get a weekend free I seem not to worry that much about it.

I would say that the only reason i could be a Internet Addict is because i needs my internet for contacting the people far away from me, Which includes my boyfriend.

then again i wont denie i love roaming around forums, and facebook and all that aswell so yeah i believe internet addiction surely is real, just not a damaging as cocaine and such, that is just a load of bull to me.

I cant imagine anybody getting homeless and totally broke just because they "Needed" the internet.

No.

No.

No.

It's not physical addiction with the Internet, you can't die from withdrawal.

oh come on, whats the point of studies like that? you can get addicted to pretty much everything (if not EVERYTHING) and im pretty sure most (if not all) addictions have the same effect on human's brain, because its still one and same thing - ADDICTION.

...Crap. If that's the case, then I can't let my folks see this...

The internet is one hell of a drug.

Does that mean I'm Doctor Rockso?! I DON'T WANNA BE AN INTERNET ROCK-N-ROLL CLOWN!

It's not an addiction, I can quit anytime. Honestly!

This study is ridiculous, the internet isn't addicting. I can stop using it any time I want, I just don't want to.

While i believe in getting physical addiction to something non-biological is impossible, i would posit that it could make someone behave in an irrational way if they are deprived of the thing they are "addicted" to. Just look at the numerous videos on youtube of young people having their parents take away world of warcraft or something. The absolute tantrum and hissy fit they through is completely disproportionate and almost on the level of denying an alcholic his shot of whiskey. The difference between internet / game addiction and alcohol / drug addiction is that the former is entirely psychological and the latter is biological AND psychological. The body can go through withdrawal if intake of that certain drug suddenly stops, which can be extremely stressful on the body and damaging. However, no matter how insane you might go when deprived of your internet / game / favourite toy, your body will not go through the same withdrawal process. It just won't.

This story sort of reminds me of a previous article that looked at how gamer's brains are different to those of non-gamers. I understand that's because of learned response (I.E, becoming more responsive to stimuli) but it still fascinates me to see how the human body can change from something entirely extraneous.

 

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