Does extreme Internet use cause depression? Or are people who obsessively use the Internet more likely to be depressed already? Is it a little of both? Or is there some other factor altogether — perhaps social difficulties — that accounts for both depression and extreme Internet use?

Research has yet to find an answer, but so far, the correlations are intriguing. Some new epidemiological research from China and Australia found some interesting associations: In a study of high-school students, those who met criteria for compulsive Internet use were more than twice as likely to show signs of depression nine months later, even if they showed no signs of depression at the beginning of the study.

There’s no doubt that compulsive Internet use can have its drawbacks, and often goes hand and hand with emotional issues. If you are concerned about youreself or someone you know showing signs of Internet addiction, there is help here.

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