The experts based in China conducted brain scans of 17 young internet addicts and found that some significant changes occurred in their white matter.
White matter is the area of the brain that contains nerve fibers. According to the results, the scans which were taken indicated that there was evidence of disruption to connections in nerve fibres involved in decision-making, control and emotions.
Writing in Plos One, expert Dr Hao Lei said: “Overall, our findings indicate that IAD has abnormal white matter integrity in brain regions involving emotional generation and processing, executive attention, decision making and cognitive control.”
He went on to say that the results also suggest that web addiction may share certain psychological mechanisms with other forms of addiction such as substance abuse.
Chair in biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, Professor Gunter Schumann, told the BBC that this is the first time a study has identified changes in the neuronal connections between brain areas as well as in brain function.
The researchers hope that with further research, these findings could eventually be used to develop new treatments for addictive behaviours.
If you believe that either yourself or someone you know may be addicted to using the web then please visit our internet addiction fact sheet to find out more.
View the original BBC News article.