Internet Addiction Causing Depression & Sleeplessness

Web overuse linked to depression and insomnia in college students

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It's no surprise that college students spend an extensive amount of time online. But often that internet use becomes pathological and even addictive.

For adolescents and young adults, this can have severe consequences. Problematic Internet use is more common than asthma on U.S. college campuses, and is linked to sleep disorders and moderate to severe depression.

"Young adults should monitor online time to prevent depression and insomnia."

Dr. Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH of Seattle Children's Research Institute, recently conducted a study of 224 college students at two U.S. universities to measure their Internet addiction and analyze its association with sleep and depression. The results showed not only a cause for concern, but a problem that colleges should address with preventative approaches. Overall, 4 percent of students scored in the occasionally problematic or addicted range on the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), and 12 percent had moderate to severe depression.

"Pediatricians and parents continue to report overuse of the Internet in their patients and children, respectively," said Christakis. "Given the Internet is woven into the fabric of the lives of this generation of children, concerns about the potential for addiction are warranted and today's college students are clearly at risk, given the considerable exposure that they have to the Internet."

The results of Christakis’ study, “Problematic Internet Usage in U.S. College Students: A Pilot Study,” were published online in BMC Medicine in June 2011.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 5, 2011
Last Updated:
July 7, 2011