A peer-reviewed report that was recently published on the website PLos ONE documents what appear to be similarities between the brains of Internet-addicted teens and the brains of teens who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs.

The small study, which was conducted at the Chinese Academy of Science, consisted of 17 teens who have been diagnosed with Internet Addiction and 18 who showed no symptoms of compulsive Internet use.

According to a Jan. 11 article on the BBC website, “specialised MRI brain scans showed changes in the white matter of the brain – the part that contains nerve fibres – in those classed as being web addicts, compared with non-addicts.There was evidence of disruption to connections in nerve fibres linking brain areas involved in emotions, decision making, and self-control.”

“We are finally being told what clinicians suspected for some time now,” psychiatrist Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones told the BBC. “White matter abnormalities in the orbito-frontal cortex and other truly significant brain areas are present not only in addictions where substances are involved but also in behavioural ones such as internet addiction.”