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Internet addiction linked to self-injurious behavior

Adolescents who are addicted to the internet are more likely than non-addicted teenagers to engage in self-injurious behaviours like hitting themselves or burning themselves.

Internet addiction linked to self-injurious behavior

Adolescents who are addicted to the internet are more likely than non-addicted teenagers to engage in self-injurious behaviours like hitting themselves, pulling their own hair, or pinching or burning themselves.

Internet addiction has been classified as a mental health problem with symptoms similar to other addictions. Experts interpret internet addiction, among other things, as feelings of depression/nervousness/moodiness when not online, which only go away when the addict gets back online. Fantasizing or being preoccupied about being online are other signs of internet addiction.

To examine the association between internet addiction and self-injurious behaviour in adolescence, researchers surveyed 1,618 adolescents between 13 and 18 years old from China about their self-injurious behaviours and gave them a test designed to gauge internet addiction.

They found that while only about 10 percent of the students surveyed were moderately addicted to the internet, and less than 1 percent were severely addicted, those students were 2.4 times more likely to have self-injured one to five times in the past 6 months than students with normal internet habits. Additionally, the moderately-to-severely internet-addicted students were almost five times more likely than non-addicted students to have self-injured six or more times in the past 6 months.

The link between internet addiction and self-injurious behavior in adolescence remained strong and significant even after the researchers accounted for other variables that have been previously associated with self-injury, including depression, family dissatisfaction, or stressful life events, suggesting that internet addiction is an independent risk factor for self-injurious behaviour.

The above findings indicate that addiction to the internet is detrimental to mental health and increases the risk of self-injury among adolescents and doctors need to be aware of potential of other addictions and their effects among such self-injured patients.

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