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Here’s how internet withdrawal can increase your heart rate, BP

Internet addiction is just like any other drug addiction. It shows withdrawal symptoms like high blood pressure and heart rate
India TV Lifestyle Desk New Delhi June 01, 2017 13:58 IST
India TV Lifestyle Desk

Just like a drug addict reacts on being denied the drugs and start showing withdrawal symptoms, an internet addict is bound to show similar withdrawal symptoms. People who use internet for most of their days can experience physiological changes like fluctuating heart beat and blood pressure when they have to go offline. Scientists have found out in a study. The study was conducted on 144 participants who were aged between 18-33 years. They had their heart beat and blood pressure measured before an internet session.  

Their anxiety and internet obsession were also evaluated before the study was conducted. After the internet session, those who were addicted to internet showed physiological arousal on termination. 

There was an average three to four per cent increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and in some cases double that figure, instantly on ending internet session, contrary to before using it, for those with digital-behaviour difficulties, according to the study published in the journal, PLOS ONE.

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"We have known for some time that people who are over-dependent on digital devices report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them, but now we can see that these psychological effects are accompanied by actual physiological changes," said study lead Phil Reed, Professor at Swansea University in Britain.


Even though this increase is not enough to be life-threatening, such changes can be related with feelings of anxiety, and with variations to the hormonal system that can decrease immune responses. 

The study also proposed that these physiological changes and accompanying increases in anxiety show a state like withdrawal seen for many 'sedative' drugs, such as alcohol, cannabis, and heroin, and this state may be responsible for some people's need to re-engage with their digital devices to reduce these unpleasant feelings. Though, there were no such changes for participants who reported no internet-usage problems.