Internet Addiction Can Lead To Cognitive Impairment, Other Mental Health Issues, Study Says

First Posted: Sep 19, 2016 04:40 AM EDT

Internet addiction, according to a recent study conducted by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology or ECNP, suggested that internet addiction could potentially lead to mental health issues. The researchers employed two scales for evaluating internet use and found that problematic use of the internet was primarily among college-going students. 

Researchers used the traditional IAT or Internet addiction Test and another new scale they created based on addiction criteria that are updated. Findings from the study are expected to be helpful to psychiatrists in their approach to issues on account of internet addiction and related health issues, reported.

Drastic changes in internet addiction in the last two decades

With the internet penetration growing at a rapid speed, there are fears that more and more people will face huge challenges in coping with the regularity of their online presence. IAT or Internet addiction test measures excessive gravitation to the internet. But, Michael Van Ameringen, the Chief Researcher points out that the internet addiction test was developed in late the 1990s when internet penetration was significantly less than what it is in 2016. Smartphones and social media were virtually absent when the test was developed. The researchers opined that this gave rise to a situation where many false positives could emerge from the internet addiction test because of inherent infirmities in the questionnaire in relation to the present times and the internet usage patterns.

Researchers, therefore, developed a new scale to address the present day internet usage patterns and problems associated with internet addiction. 254 students from the McMaster University, Canada were surveyed and the data obtained was correlated with general wellness and internet usage . Response to the internet addiction test was positive from 33 students going by the criteria laid down for the internet addiction test. But, 107 students responded positively when the new scale devised by the researchers was employed. indicated that other studies also indicate that internet addiction could potentially lead to other mental health issues.

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