Internet use linked to addiction and depression

Friday 5th February, 2010

UK scientists have said people who use the internet regularly may be more likely to suffer depression.

A team of psychologist from Leeds University found that people who spend large amounts of time in chat rooms and on social networking sites are missing out on real-life social interaction and this may have harmful effects on their mental health.

The study involved over 1,300 people aged 16-51 and their levels of depression. 1.2 per cent (mostly young people) were addicted to the internet and were more likely to suffer moderate to severe depression.

Replacing social interaction with online interaction could have a link to psychological disorders, according to lead author of the study Dr Catriona Morrison.

“Our research indicates that excessive internet use is associated with depression, but what we don’t know is which comes first – are depressed people drawn to the internet or does the internet cause depression?” explained Dr Morrison.

“What is clear is that for a small subset of people, excessive use of the internet could be a warning signal for depressive tendencies.”

Depression symptoms vary depending on the individual but common signs include: loss of appetite, poor concentration, problems sleeping, lethargy and despair. Information on depression here



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