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Last updated on Wednesday, January 18, 2012
(UNDATED)(WBBH/NBC) - A new study suggests nearly half of all Americans who use a smartphone have addiction to their internet.
Research shows, those with a serious addiction to the internet presents similar brain irregularities to those who are battling an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
Either way, Theresa Finer, an addiction counselor, says it is reason for concern.
"It certainly becomes very, very difficult for the person to overcome," Finer said.
Finer says signs of addiction can include: Feeling out of control, having a behavior that severely gets in the way of work, school, and social interactions, and feeling the need to do that behavior more and more.
"The pattern is any different than if you were using drugs," Finer said. "Your tolerance is built, you start seeking more, so you will do it more frequently."
In a new study, Chinese researchers gave a group of teenage internet addicts MRI's.
According to the findings, those teens had similar brain abnormalities as those who were addicted to drugs or alcohol.
What's not clear is if those irregularities occurred before the onset of the addiction or after.
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