Internet Addiction—Do Addicts Experience Withdrawals?
Internet Addiction and Withdrawal: Real?
In the United Kingdom, a recent study of 60 adults revealed that people who suffer from internet addiction experienced an increase in depressive symptoms and decrease in positive mood after logging off. Similar effects of those who suffer from drug withdrawals, this discovery raised the question of whether or not internet addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms when one cannot be connected to the world wide web.1
Chair of the Department of Psychology at Swansea University in the UK, Phil Reed, DPhil, stated that the study was expecting that the participants display enhanced mood after a long period of surfing the web, reflecting how logging in was a positive reinforcer; therefore, they were shocked to find the opposite.1 However, what they did find—the decreased mood, the depressive symptoms—were textbook withdrawal effects for addiction.1
The term “internet addiction” is still controversial within the psychiatric community; however, the DSM 5, due out in May of this year, will include the disorder in Section 3, the section for disorders that require further research.1
Symptoms of Internet Addiction
According to the study, the increased negative mood of the participants may in fact contribute to their increased usage of the web.1 They may also experience impulsive nonconformity or unstable mood in regards to social rules and conventions.1 All of these symptoms point to the fact that internet addicts do experience withdrawal symptoms once they stop using the internet; however, as this study was an initial study, more research needs to be conducted to ensure these results are true to the addiction.1
 Brauser, D. (2013, February 25). Internet ‘Addiction’ Linked to Druglike Withdrawal. Medscape News Today. Retrieved March 5, 2013, from www.medscape.com/viewarticle/779884?nlid=28903_1049&src=wnl_edit_dail&pa=UAQgU%2BpMQSzsp7ZAUyGXyw2bdHUiQCq%2BBTGeSJwultLGcHhvQqsCabvArN6HD97MVrJxKJt4DRD8mxYr6kYfOw%3D%3D Internet Addiction.