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“Is Cell Phone Use Changing Your Brain?” Asks a Toronto Naturopath

Posted By on 29 January 2019

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darkIf you have been using cell phones and computers for a number of years, you probably suspect that using these devices every day might be affecting your health in one way or other. Quite a few scientific studies that have been conducted lately supply us with some evidence that use of the Internet has indeed become an addiction is actually lowering, rather than improving our quality of life. In fact, the term from having to check your social media, email or chat messages constantly is called Pathological Internet Use and there is now lots of scientific evidence that it causes humans a lot of harm.

Behaviors Associated Pathological Cell Phone and Internet Use

Cell phone and internet use addiction manifests in many different ways, but these are some of the more common symptoms that many people experience when the lifestyle habit is actually harming their overall health.

  • Experiencing psychological and even physical symptoms of withdrawal if you have no access to your phone
  • Isolating yourself from friends and family to check your phone
  • Checking your phone in the middle of night and/or sleeping with your phone under pillow
  • Compulsively checking your phone while doing other things such as watching television, eating, driving or studying.
  • Phone usage causing argument with friends or family
  • Losing emotional control on social media

Physical symptoms can result from the overuse of cell phones as well including blurry vision, a strained neck and repetitive strain injuries in the shoulder, arms, wrists and fingers from spending too much time on a smart phone, pad or laptop. Yet another bizarre symptom that can occur is the delusion that your phone is vibrating or ringing, when you do not have it with you.

Pathological Cell Phone Use Affects Mental Health

Studies conducted over the past ten years have definitely been building a case against the overuse of cell phones and internet and describing all kinds of negative effects on the brain, nervous system and psyche in general.

One of the first of these studies was a 2010 joint study conducted by the University of Notre Dame in Australia and the School of Public Health in China, which found that the pathological use of a cell phone causes depression. The study surveyed 1,041 high school students in China between the ages of 13 and 18 over a period of nine months and found that those who were constantly on their cell phones or laptops tended to have mental health problems, including depression that severe enough to require intervention and counseling.

Similar studies done in 2011, 2012, 2013 (see endnotes) provided extensive evidence that addiction to gaming and the internet were causing the gray matter in the basal forebrain to shrink, affecting mood and learning and creating neurological deficits in adolescents. Too much social media use, also leaves people feeling sad and unfulfilled and like a craving for a drug, creates the need to log into sites like Facebook and Instagram even more often, creating a vicious cycle of dopamine shortage and addiction.

A study conducted in 2017 at the Seoul University in South Korea among 370 middle school children also found that excessive internet and smartphone actually causes changes in brain chemistry resulting in mood disorders, delinquency aggressiveness, anxiety, and a desire to smoke or do drugs in order to raise dopamine levels in the brain. When their smart phones were taken away, many experienced the kinds of physical withdrawal symptoms associated with hard drug use such as heroin. otherchemistry.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction there are natural ways to treat it, with one of the most effective being  cognitive behavioural therapy. Acupuncture and homeopathy can also help treat the withdrawal symptoms that occur when you are trying to quit a bad habit or make a big lifestyle change.

Feel free to book a consultation at the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre about any health matter. We offer naturopathic testing, weight loss program, IV vitamin drip therapy, infrared blood analysis, mesotherapy, hypnotherapy, nutritional advice, and more. To review the other services and treatments we offer, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products  or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services

Additional Sources:

Lin, Fuchun, Yan Zhou, Yasong Du, Lindi Qin, Zhimin Zhao, Jianrong Xu, and Hao Lei. “Abnormal White Matter Integrity in Adolescents with Internet Addiction Disorder: A Tract-Based Spatial Statistics Study.” PloS One 7, no. 1 (2012): e30253. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030253.

Yuan, Kai, Ping Cheng, Tao Dong, Yanzhi Bi, Lihong Xing, Dahua Yu, Limei Zhao, et al. “Cortical Thickness Abnormalities in Late Adolescence with Online Gaming Addiction.” Edited by Bogdan Draganski. PLoS ONE 8, no. 1 (January 9, 2013): e53055. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053055.

Yuan, Kai, Wei Qin, Guihong Wang, Fang Zeng, Liyan Zhao, Xuejuan Yang, Peng Liu, et al. “Microstructure Abnormalities in Adolescents with Internet Addiction

Weng, Chuan-Bo, Ruo-Bing Qian, Xian-Ming Fu, Bin Lin, Xiao-Peng Han, Chao-Shi Niu, and Ye-Han Wang. “Gray Matter and White Matter Abnormalities in Online Game Addiction.” European Journal of Radiology 82, no. 8 (August 2013): 1308–1312. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2013.01.031.Disorder.” Edited by Shaolin Yang. PLoS ONE 6, no. 6 (June 3, 2011): e20708. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020708.

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