Digital addiction may damage your brain: Study

We throw around words like "crackberry" to describe how dependent we are on high-tech devices.

But now, a study finds that Internet addiction may actually damage the brain -- the same as too much alcohol or drugs.

For the study, published in the Jan. 11 issue of PLoS One, researchers studied 17 men and women who were diagnosed with Internet addiction disorder (IAD) and compared scans of their brains to scans of 16 healthy people who weren't addicted to the web. Study participants were between the ages of 14 and 21 and lived in China.

The researchers found more patterns of "abnormal white matter" on brain scans of Internet addicts, compared with scans of non-addicts. White matter areas in the brain contain nerve fibers that transmit signals to other parts of the brain.

These changes showed evidence of disrupting pathways related to emotions, decision-making, and self control.

Internet addiction changes brain similar to cocaine: Study
Overcoming Internet addiction

Physician and best-selling author Dr. Deepak Chopra called the study "very valid" on "CBS This Morning."

"Addictive behavior means that you're compulsively repeating that behavior at the cost of everything in your life. You can't sleep. You miss out on relationships, social interactions, health, well-being. Any addictive behavior will cause the same damage in the brain at the receptors as a drug will do. The study is very valid. Once there's damage, then that perpetuates the behavior. It becomes a vicious cycle. The behavior damages the brain. The brain then reinforces the behavior. And soon, it spins out of control."

But how do you know you have a problem -- and is there hope to rewire your brain if you do?

Find out when you watch the full interview with Chopra in the video in the player above.

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