Internet addiction a red flag for mental health problems Over-reliance on the Internet, social media and instant messaging in particular, might be linked to depression, anxiety and impulsivity, according to a study presented at the recent 29th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria. In the study from Canada, researchers evaluated the internet use of 254 freshmen at McMaster University in Ontario. The researchers used a tool called the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), developed in 1998, as well as their own scale based on more recent criteria. 33 students met criteria for internet addiction, and 107 for problematic internet use. The researchers also assessed the students' mental health, including signs of impulsiveness, depression, anxiety and stress. Most of those addicted to the internet had trouble controlling their use of video streaming and social networking sites as well as instant messaging tools. They had more trouble handling their daily routines and higher rates of depression, anxiety, impulsiveness and inattention. They also had problems with planning and time management. Excessive use of the internet may have a strong association with compulsive behavior and addiction.