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How internet addiction may affect your teen’s brain, according to a new study

Teenagers who spend a lot of time on social media complain that they feel like they can’t pay attention to more important things like homework or spending time with loved ones. A new study may have captured this objectively, revealing that for adolescents diagnosed with Internet addiction, signaling between brain regions important for attention control, working memory and more has been disrupted. Related video above: New social media campaign raises awareness about mental health. The results come from a review, published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Mental Health, of 12 neuroimaging studies of a few hundred adolescents aged 10 to 19 between 2013 and 2022. “Behavioral addiction caused by excessive use Internet has become a source of growing concern over the past decade,” the authors write in the study. The clinical diagnostic criteria for Internet addiction In the included studies, there were “persistent preoccupation with the Internet, withdrawal symptoms when moving away from the Internet, and sacrifice of relationships (for) time spent on Internet over an extended period of time (e.g. 12 months),” said Max Chang. , first author of the study and outreach case manager at the nonprofit Peninsula Family Service in San Francisco, via email. “The pattern of behavior results in significant impairment or distress in the individual’s life.” Given the changing state of adolescent brains compared to adults, the authors felt it was vital to understand the impacts of Internet addiction on the participating adolescent brains. Video below: Social Media giant reports highest usage of young adult “daily active users” in three years. When participants clinically diagnosed with Internet addiction engaged in activities governed by the brain’s executive functions network—behaviors requiring attention, planning, decision-making, and impulse control—these Brain regions showed substantial disruption in their ability to work together, compared to those of peers without Internet addiction. The authors believe such changes in signaling could suggest that these behaviors may become more difficult to perform, potentially influencing development and well-being. “While this article presents a simple systematic review suggesting that there are associations between functional connectivity in the brain and Internet addiction, “There are a number of fundamental limitations to be aware of that are essential to any interpretation,” Dr David Ellis, a behavioral scientist at the Institute for Digital Safety and Behavior at the University of Bath, said in a press release. “Cause and effect cannot be drawn from these studies ” said Ellis, who was not involved in the study. “Second, the emphasis on functional connectivity comes at the expense of any criticism of the key measure of interest. Specifically, Internet “addiction”, originally mentioned by (psychiatrist) Ivan K. Goldberg in 1995 as a joke, “the conceptualization and measurement of Internet “addiction” is neither universally accepted nor certainly not diagnosable using the survey instruments used in the studies included in the study,” Ellis added. “Similarly, the enormity of activities that the Internet immediately enables makes this definition somewhat redundant. “In the United States, Internet addiction is not included in the DSM-V – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. However, all of the studies reviewed by the authors were all conducted in Asia and primarily involved men. China was the first country to declare Internet addiction a “public health crisis.” While widely criticized, they also tend to move away from real online harm and toward a conclusion that suggests removing technology from people’s lives will help,” Ellis said. “Solid evidence to suggest that Internet removal brings tangible benefits has not been available.” Additionally, all of the studies were conducted at one point in time, said Dr. Eva Telzer, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the study. “Given that there is no longitudinal data,” Telzer said, “it is very possible that adolescents who have underlying differences in brain connectivity patterns are more vulnerable to developing drug addiction. Internet.” below: The average American spends a few hours a day “dream scrolling” to overcome Internet addiction. If internet addiction is to blame for the disruption in participants’ brain signaling, the reason could be linked to addiction-related neural pathways, said Dr. Smita Das, an addiction psychiatrist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry and in behavioral sciences at Stanford Medicine in California. Das was not involved in the study. The functional connectivity patterns in the participants’ brains are, in fact, consistent with those seen in people with drug addiction, said Dr. Caglar Yildirim, associate professor of computer science at Khoury College. in computer science at Northeastern University in Boston. Yildirim did not participate in the study. “Overall, the mechanisms underlying Internet addiction look more like an emerging model than a finished picture,” Chang said. “Many causal links between what happens in the brain and what is displayed through behavior are still understood. Currently, observation using biomarkers such as functional connectivity is helping to bridge this gap. ” Video below: Tips to Break Your Social Media Addiction. If you’re wondering if your teen is struggling with an internet addiction, behaviors such as withdrawing from relationships are a telltale sign, Chang said. “Similar to substance abuse and gaming disorders, Internet addiction rewires the brain, making it more difficult to resist Internet-related stimuli,” he added. “However, unlike gaming or substance use, the Internet is an important part of our lives. Balancing the usefulness and dangers of the Internet is a very crucial area for adolescent development.” Find what keeps your teen off the Internet and help them do more of it, Yildirim suggested. You can also talk with your child’s doctor to see if behavioral strategies might work, Das suggested. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing are helpful. The latter, from the field of addiction treatment, is a counseling method that aims to increase the patient’s motivation and commitment to behavior change by eliciting and exploring the patient’s reasons for to want to change. In severe cases, a psychiatrist may suggest medication to treat certain types of technology addiction, she added. “In addition to treating internet addiction, there may be other underlying mental health issues that should also receive special attention,” Das said. “Finally, some of the preventative measures we recommended include limiting screen time, taking breaks, and avoiding doom scrolling.” Video below: How to stop the “Doomscrolling” topic in his presidential initiative for 2023 to 2024, said Das, outgoing chair of the APA Council on Substance Abuse. “Because we know families are desperate for help and confused about the science,” Das said, “we have developed several resources, many of which are on the APA website.

Teenagers who spend a lot of time on social media complain about feeling like they can’t pay attention to more important things like homework or spending time with loved ones.

A new study may have captured this objectively, revealing that in adolescents diagnosed with Internet addiction, signaling between brain regions important for attention control, working memory and more was disturbed.

Related video above: New social media campaign raises awareness about mental health

The results come from a review, published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Mental Health, of 12 neuroimaging studies involving a few hundred adolescents aged 10 to 19 between 2013 and 2022.

“Behavioral addiction caused by excessive Internet use has become a growing concern over the past decade,” the authors write in the study.

The clinical diagnostic criteria for Internet addiction in the included studies were “persistent preoccupation with the Internet, withdrawal symptoms when moving away from the Internet, and sacrifice of relationships (for) time to spend on the Internet on an extended period of time (e.g., 12 months),” said Max Chang, first author of the study and outreach case manager at the nonprofit Peninsula Family Service in San Francisco, via email. “The behavior pattern results in significant impairment or distress in the individual’s life.”

Given how adolescent brains evolve compared to adult brains, the authors felt it was critical to understand the impacts of Internet addiction on the participating adolescent brains.

Video below: Social media giant reports highest young adult ‘daily active users’ usage in three years

When participants clinically diagnosed with Internet addiction engaged in activities governed by the brain’s executive functions network—behaviors requiring attention, planning, decision-making, and impulse control—these regions brains showed substantial disruption in their ability to work together, compared to their peers without Internet addiction. The authors believe such changes in signaling could suggest that these behaviors may become more difficult to perform, potentially influencing development and well-being.

“While this article presents a simple systematic review suggesting that there are associations between functional connectivity in the brain and Internet ‘addiction’, there are a number of fundamental limitations of which one should be aware…

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