Are you spending too much time on the Internet or playing on your phone? A recent study shows that a smartphone addiction is even more dangerous than it was previously believed. According to it, this could lead to the technology addicts’ suffering from an imbalance in their brain chemistry.
The Neurological Effects of a Smartphone Addiction
The results of this new study were presented at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting. Researchers concluded that young people who have a smartphone addiction show a higher risk of anxiety, insomnia, impulsivity, and depression. The team of researchers from South Korea used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine the brain chemical composition of its study participants.
Scientists selected 19 smartphone addicts, ten females and nine males which were aged around 15 years. They also used a control group to analyze and compare the results. To determine the levels of addiction, the study team used standardized smartphone addiction tests. With these, they also observed that the teens who were addicted to their smart devices also presented higher levels of impulsivity, insomnia, and depression.
After they analyzed the level of addiction, all of the participants underwent MRS exams. 12 out of the 19 smartphone addicts received nine weeks of behavioral therapy to help them overcome their addiction. After the therapy program, they took part in another MRS exam. The control group only underwent one such test. Researchers measured their levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and glutamate-glutamine (Glx).
Participants suffering from a smartphone addiction had a higher ratio of GABA-to-Glx in the anterior cingulate cortex. This means that they have an integration loss and that they might find it harder to process emotional and cognitive neural networks. As it is, this problem can be solved through therapy. Participants who went to therapy presented a decrease in the level of GABA and a normalized GABA-to-Glx ratio.
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