Forget drug and alcohol addictions.
American college students are hooked on social media, cellphones and the Internet, complete with symptoms of addiction say researchers from the University of Maryland.
When 200 students were asked to give up all media for a full day, after 24 hours many showed signs of anxiety, withdrawal, and an inability to function. Worst was going without texting, email and Facebook, reports the New York Times.
For many it was synonymous of going without friends and family.
"Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort," wrote one of the students, who blogged about their reactions. "When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life."
How bad can the addiction get?
A soon to be released memoir, “Unplugged: My Journey Into the Dark World of Videogame Addiction” tells the story of Ryan Van Cleave who considered suicide the day he decided to end his World of Warcraft addiction.
South Korea classifies 49 million as “Internet addicts,” including one couple who let their three month old starve to death while they were busy on the Internet.
Students did not turn to watching TV news or reading a newspaper, tasks that people of just the previous generation learned to enjoy. Students also did not differentiate between information and news and had no affiliation or loyalty to any particular news program.
The American Psychiatric Association does not yet formally recognize Internet addiction. But a private center called ReSTART opened near Microsoft in Redmond Washington to treat video gaming, texting and excessive use of the Internet.
Besides spending an increasing amount of time on internet activities, other signs of addiction, according to ReSTART include:
• Failed attempts to control behavior
• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and internet activities
• Craving more time on the computer and internet
• Neglecting friends and family
• Feeling restless when not engaged in the activity
• Being dishonest with others
• Computer use interfering with job/school performance
• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of behavior
• Changes in sleep patterns
• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
• Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities #