What Internet Addiction is Doing to Your Brain

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couple hugging and looking at phones

With more than 3 million people using the internet, finding the information you need is more accessible than ever. This instant gratification of retrieving information and connecting with others instantaneously has certainly caused us to utilize technology more than ever before. While the internet has provided us with many conveniences and benefits, it can, just like anything else, become addictive and can cause distress in various aspects of your life.

Michelle Roses, MS Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling told Quora, a website where people can find information, that all process/behavioral addictions change the brain. Specifically, the internet creates new neural pathways in the brain that replace other, healthier neural pathways or completely blocks the formation of healthy neural pathways altogether. Internet addiction impacts all senses, which makes the addiction so strong. As you utilize the internet, your brain creates new ways of doing things and soon enough it associates the behavior with pleasure; this means that it is affecting the neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain. There are several signs of internet addiction:

  • Feelings of guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dishonesty
  • Euphoric feelings when in front of a computer
  • Unable to keep schedules
  • No sense of time
  • Isolation
  • Defensiveness
  • Avoiding doing work
  • Agitation when you cannot get on the internet

If you are eating or drinking while using the internet often, your brain will also form pathways that engage the pleasure of internet while you’re eating and drinking. Victoria Dunckley, M.D. and writer for Psychology Today, explored brain scan research and found the following as being physically affected by internet addiction: gray matter atrophy, compromised white matter integrity, reduced cortical thickness, impaired cognitive functioning, cravings and impaired dopamine function. The brain’s frontal lobe is highly affected, and internet addiction may cause someone to have difficulty with executive functions such as planning, prioritizing, organizing, and impulse control. Loss of communication within the brain as it relates to emotional and survival cues may occur, less efficient information processing, and increased sensitivity to rewards are also common occurrences from internet addiction.





If you have a process addiction such as internet addiction, call us today at 888-958-7511. Avalon Malibu will help you break negative behavioral patterns through mindful, healing therapies that bring insight and lasting change. We provide expertly guided psychoeducation to help clients better understand both the chemical and psychological processes that occur with process addictions. Take back control over your life today and call us for a consultation.

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