New Study Links Problematic Internet Use to Heightened ADHD Symptoms

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A recent study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research has revealed a connection between problematic internet use (PIU) and the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Excessive use of the internet has become a global concern, and conditions such as internet gaming disorder and gambling disorder have been recognized as mental health problems associated with it.

PIU is characterized by impaired control over internet use, neglect of daily activities due to excessive internet use, and addiction-like symptoms. It has been found to negatively impact mental health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, emotional distress, social withdrawal, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and ADHD.

The study’s meta-analysis approach involved searching scientific databases for relevant studies published between 1996 and 2023. A total of 24 studies were included, with a sample size of 18,859 participants. The analysis revealed a significant positive association between internet addiction and attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Sub-group analysis found that the association between internet addiction and attention deficit was stronger in adults compared to children and adolescents. Additionally, non-clinical participants were more affected by internet addiction than those clinically diagnosed with ADHD. There were also significant gender differences, with males showing higher effect sizes for attention deficit and hyperactivity compared to females.

The study suggests that adult males who are not clinically diagnosed with ADHD are a potential risk group for the association between internet addiction and attention deficit. It also highlights the need for further research to understand the mechanisms behind this association and explore interventions for reducing internet use and managing ADHD symptoms.

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  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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