Date of Publication: 30-Nov--0001
Genetic and Molecular Basis of Internet Addiction:An Overview
Author: Aniruddha Chatterjee?
Category: Engineering, Science and Mathematics
Evidences from psychological and neurological studies have depicted similarity between substance use disorders such as alcoholism and excessive internet use, as both are characterized as a behavioural addiction. Moreover, neuro-imaging has helped to determine some alterations, including decreased gray matter volume and density in the anterior cingulate cortex as well as exaggerated reactivity of the striatum. However, little is known about the molecular basis of the underlying brain dysfunctions. A few studies have demonstrated some associations with molecular genetic markers. Dopamine and serotonin have been implicated as in many other addictions. In addition, a genetic variation on the CHRNA4 gene (a constituent of the cholinergic pathways of the brain), which has been associated with trait anxiety and smoking, is also found to be relevant to Internet addiction. The neuronal circuit for sadness is known to be down regulated by the hormone oxytocin and sadness has been linked with the overall general and problematic internet use and its manifestations such as mood regulation. Low empathy, with possible links to oxytocin, has also been found to be associated with higher Internet addiction. The present overview aims to demonstrate and understand individual differences in Internet addiction and focus on potential genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of Internet addiction.
Keywords: Internet Addiction; Norepinephrine; Dopamine; Serotonin; CHRNA4