While not an official psychiatric disorder, many college students suffer from internet and media addiction. According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland, students that gave up their media connections had withdrawal symptoms similar to those of a drug or alcohol addict. They also experienced craving, anxiety and preoccupation which made it difficult to function for some.
The study asked for students to break their social connections for 24 hours which included text messaging, TV watching, listening to music, e-mail and Facebook etc. Several students in the study claimed that this was essentially cutting them off from friends and family entirely.
A student in the survey called their dependency on the connections “sickening” while another said that they have “a constant feeling of comfort” with IM and text and that they felt secluded without being able to do so.
While not surprising, the results of the study could lead to internet addiction becoming a real disorder like many other addictions.