Addictions and the Brain


Interesting study about the brain and its relationship to internet abuse like gaming and pornography. research points to the potentially devastating effects of Internet addiction, especially in adolescents. A review of 13 published articles showed that people with Internet addiction disorder (IAD), especially those addicted to Internet gaming, tend to have certain brain abnormalities.

  1. Internet addiction is also associated changes in Brain Blood Flow: “Increased blood flow is actually seen in the areas of the brain involving reward and pleasure centers, and decreased blood flow is observed in areas involved in hearing and visual processing,” Sree Jadapalle, MD
  2. Internet addiction is also linked to dopamine changes. Studies indicate that prolonged Internet use leads to a reduction in dopamine transporters, the effects of which are stagnation of dopamine in the synaptic cleft, said Dr. Jadapalle. She added that the resulting excess dopamine causes stimulation of adjacent neurons, which may result in a euphoric effect. A state of reduced levels of dopamine transporters is seen in substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors, she noted.
  3. Regarding n.2 Internet addicts also have enhanced reward sensitivity and decreased sensitivity to monetary loss. This may make them indifferent to the consequences of their behavior, which can include psychological, social, and work difficulties.

The study has concerning conclusions.

If you want to read the full article: Brain Abnormalities Linked to ‘Internet Addiction’. Medscape. May 05, 2014.

By Pauline Anderson

professional counseling and care for the mind, body and spirit

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