Thursday, August 5, 2010

Internet Teens more likely to get the blues addicts: study

Adolescents who are "addicted" to the Internet are more than twice as likely to become depressed than those who surf the Web in a more controlled, a study released Monday found. For the study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 1041 adolescents in Guangzhou in southeastern China completed a questionnaire to determine if they have used the Internet in a pathological way, and were assessed for anxiety and depression. Most of teens - more than 940 - have used the Internet as normal, but 62 (6.2 percent) were classified as moderately pathological Internet users and two (0.2 percent) were "users" severely pathological.

Nine months later, the adolescents' psychological states were assessed again, and the researchers found these students who used the Internet without control or wrongly were around two and half times more likely than users of normal network depression. Even when the stress of studies of adolescents were in the equation, young Internet addicts are still one and half times more likely to feel depressed in the nine month follow-up than children who used the Internet in a controlled manner. "This result suggests that young people who are initially free of mental health problems, but the pathological Internet use may develop depression as a result," the study authors said Lawrence Lam, School of Medicine in Sydney, Australia, and Zi Wen-Peng of the Chinese Ministry of Education, said.

Pathological Internet use has been identified as a problem behavior with signs and symptoms similar to other addictions, according to background information in the study. Other studies have generally found the teens who use the Internet pathologically, but the authors warn that the number of girls who show addictive Internet behavior is increasing.

A warning signs of pathological Internet use: adolescents in the study were found to be addicted to the Internet were more likely to use it for entertainment than for education or information gathering, Lam and Zi found. Moreover, the entertainment was the most common use of the Internet among adolescents in the study, whose average age was 15.

The researchers suggest screening adolescents in their high schools to identify youth who are at risk of becoming addicted to the Internet and possibly depressed because of their pathological behavior.


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