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Does Internet Addiction Cause ADHD?

written by: Olive Estrella Coronado • edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • updated: 9/24/2010

A new clinical disorder has emerged, which is thought to be brought about by what is classified as Internet addiction. A theory has been circulated that suggests that Internet addiction causes ADHD--- is this really true?

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    Internet Addiction: Break Out?

    Is there any truth to the belief that Internet addiction causes ADHD? It used to not have a lot of bearing on many, just another ordinary pastime that kids and teenagers have gotten hooked on. But as the Internet quickly gained immense popularity all around the globe, and many different activities online were invented, even adults began to develop an addiction to it. It became difficult to stop for some. Their lives began to revolve around Internet surfing, gaming, and social networking. It had gotten hold of the majority of their time, causing them to neglect their work or studies, and even instigating rifts among family members and friends. Those suffering from depression and social phobia as well as those who are usually and naturally hostile and inattentive are more prone to this addiction. This is a result of their innate need for escape from the real world, which they have come to associate with negative experiences.

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    Internet Addiction and ADHD: Which causes the other?

    Is it true that if a child who used to have focus and did not have any attention deficit problems became excessively attached to the Internet, he would eventually develop Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD? Many believe that Internet addiction causes ADHD, but is this accurate? No study has explicitly proven this yet, although there are several researches that link Internet addiction and ADHD.

    In Taiwan, a survey was conducted among 2,293 seventh graders. Out of these youngsters, 10.8 percent scored high on the Internet addiction scale. Common symptoms for this condition consist of a long period of time spent online, powerlessness to cut back on the hours, and withdrawal symptoms like irritability and boredom.

    The seventh grade students who were reported to be addicted to the Internet were followed by researchers from Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital for close observation and monitoring. Through further study, they discovered that ADHD, along with hostility, is indeed linked to Internet addiction among children. However, it appears that it is actually ADHD that is more likely to cause Internet addiction and not the other way around. Kids who are diagnosed with this disorder or who display its symptoms like the fast-paced world in the Internet especially the action-packed video games and the multi-featured social networking sites. Shifting from one website to the other while surfing is also appealing for them, because they do not have to focus on one thing only. The usual lay-out of websites is also engaging because it is not one boring document, but there are more often than not a lot of advertisements, pop-ups, links to click, images, and even videos all fused into one.

    That Internet addiction causes ADHD is yet to be proven, although some signs show that the former can heighten the risk or increase the potential of ADHD. And for those who already have the said condition, becoming hooked online is a great factor in worsening this disorder.

    References:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/05/depression.adhd.internet.addiction/index.html?eref=rss_latest

    http://www.wellsphere.com/depression-article/internet-addiction-linked-to-adhd-depression-in-teens-article/831880

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