Science

Internet withdrawal symptoms are similar to that of drug withdrawal

02 Jun 2017 | By Anish Chakraborty
Internet addiction is driving up your blood pressure

According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, people who spend an extended amount of time on the Internet end up experiencing increased heart rate and rise in blood pressure after they stop and go offline.

The study drew a comparison saying that this was similar to the withdrawal patterns seen primarily in drug addicts.

Here's all you need to know.

In context: Internet addiction is driving up your blood pressure

02 Jun 2017Internet withdrawal symptoms are similar to that of drug withdrawal

ResearchThis is what a long Internet session does to you

This particular study reached this conclusion after monitoring a group of 144 participants aged 18-33 and jotting down their heart rate and blood pressure before and after their online sessions.

They also took into account anxiety and self-reported Internet-addiction.

The researchers noticed a marked increase in physiological changes after the subjects finished their problematically-high Internet sessions.

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Not life-threatening, yet

StudyNot life-threatening, yet

Though this abrupt increase was not massive enough to be termed as life-threatening, the study did point out that these changes can cause an increase in anxiety level and disruptions in the hormonal balance of the body slowing one's immune response.

The study pegged these changes and rise in anxiety as signs of withdrawal, which are often seen in recovering drug addicts.

AnxietyAnxiety kicks in, as soon as you stop using it

One of the researchers, Prof Phil Reed of Swansea University said, "We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them, but now we can see that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual physiological changes."

This will pose a serious health concern with the advent of technology.

ConclusionAnything in excess is harmful

Professor Reed said that there has been increasing amount of evidence, which shows that overuse of Internet tends to affect a person's psychology, neurology and now with the current study, physiology.

In the future, there needs to be a more responsible attitude regarding how the Internet gets exposed to people just like the government takes stances currently for alcohol and gambling.

ExamsEthiopia blocks Internet ahead of national exams

Reportedly, Ethiopia has shut down Internet access in its country so that students can study better before their national exam papers. The move also makes sure that the question papers don't get leaked online.

Mohammed Seid, at the Office of Government Communications Affairs, said, "We want our students to concentrate and be free of the psychological pressure and distractions that this brings."