Smartphones, an essential part of human in daily life but as experts say that excessive use of anything is always harmful and same goes to the gadget that revolutionised the 21st century. In a new find, researchers have revealed that excessive use of smartphones can hamper the mental ability. What’s striking is that teenagers are at higher risk of smartphone-aided mental sickness.
Approximately 46 percent Americans admit the fact that they can not live without their smartphones, stated in Pew Research Centre study. Even the researchers from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea examined the minds of smartphones and internet-addicted teenagers with the help of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and analysed the insights of their brains. Meanwhile, MRS is a type of MRI which maps the brain’s chemical balance.
The researchers examined 19 teenage people with the mean age of 15.5 and 9 people were male. All these people were diagnosed with the internet or smartphone addiction. In this figure, 12 teens were treated with the cognitive behavioural therapy for 9 weeks. The therapy was basically modified as originally meant for treatment of gaming addiction. The researcher Hyung Suk Seo suggested that high score leads to more critical addiction. The smartphone or internet-addicted teenagers showed higher scores in the symptoms anxiety, impulsivity, insomnia severity, and depression, as per the results of research.
The researchers conducted MRS exam on the teenagers who were getting treated with behavioural therapy and an individual MRS study on the patients to estimate the levels of GABA(gamma-aminobutyric acid). While GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain which restrains or slows down brain signals, and glutamate-glutamine (Glx), a neurotransmitter that causes neurons to become more electrically stimulated.
In the anterior cingulate cortex of smartphone-addicted youth before having therapy, the ratio of GABA to Glx was notably enhanced, mentioned in research results. Meanwhile, the increased presence of GABA can result in the number of side effects such as anxiety and drowsiness.
Mr Seo further stated that the elevated GABA levels and disrupted the balance between GABA and glutamate in the anterior cingulate cortex may contribute to our understanding the pathophysiology of and therapy or medications for addictions.
So, it is well said, ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ as it is not necessary to get addicted first and then use the therapies for curing the addiction. If you are a parent then pay attention to your kids and if you are a teenager then you are mature enough to understand the side effects of excessive use of everything.
The research appeared at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).