Skip to comments.Internet addiction — now seen at the molecular level
Posted on 09/07/2012 8:16:10 AM PDT by null and void
Study that there are molecular mutations which cause Internet addiction
While its not to the point of being as clearly described as, say, chemical dependency, a study conducted by researchers from the University of Bonn and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Manheim has yielded some pretty clear indications that there are molecular-genetic connections to the growing phenomenon known as Internet Addiction.
The report, first published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, comes at a key moment in time, what with the explosion of Internet-capable gadgetry now seen on the market.
It was shown that Internet addiction is not a figment of our imagination, says the studys lead author, Dr. Christian Montag from the Department for Differential and Biological Psychology at the University of Bonn. Researchers and therapists are increasingly closing in on it.
Finding an Internet-dependent group
Over the past 12 months, researchers interviewed 843 people about their Internet habits. Analysis of the questionnaires showed that 132 men and women in this group exhibited problematic behavior in terms of when and how often they use the Internet.
Specifically, the thoughts of these subjects centered on the Internet during the day, and each one admitted to feeling as though their well-being would be severely impacted should they be forced to go without it.
Analyzing the genetic make-up of this group
Researchers compared the genetic make-up of the problematic Internet users with individuals considered web-healthy, if you will. What they found is that individuals in the former group actually carry the same genetic variation as that which plays a major role in nicotine addiction.
Dr. Montag explains: What we already know about the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in the brain is that a mutation on the related gene promotes addictive behavior.
Specifically, the mutation takes place on the CHRNA4 gene, which changes the genetic make-up for the Alpha 4 subunit on the aforementioned nicotinic / acetylcholine receptor. Nicotine just like acetylcholine, which is produced by the body is able to fit into this receptor just like a key. As a result, both neurotransmitters play a role in activating the brains reward system. It seems that this connection is not only essential for nicotine addiction, but also for Internet addiction, he adds.
Dr. Montag states at the conclusion of the report that more studies are necessary to further analyze the connection between this mutation and Internet addiction, but that . . . the current data already shows that there are clear indications for genetic causes of Internet addiction.
He goes on to conclude, If such connections are better understood, this will also result in important indications for better therapies. ■
...and then they post the findings of the study...on the INTERNET.
Yes, but they do have a solution. There is a COURSE for dealing with internet addiction. It’s an online course.