Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Internet addiction disorder -- the next DSM diagnosis of preference

Chuzzle! (2)
Originally uploaded by Brian Indrelunas.
Well, if I were less focused on staring at the computer screen, surfing from site to site, I might have thought of this myself: Some counselors and therapists
estimate that 6 percent to 10 percent of the approximately 189 million Internet users in this country have a dependency that can be as destructive as alcoholism and drug addiction, and they are rushing to treat it.
That's right: Internet addiction disorder. It's not yet recognized by the medical community, but I can see it coming.
Dr. Cash and other professionals say that people who abuse the Internet are typically struggling with other problems, like depression and anxiety. But, they say, the Internet's omnipresent offer of escape from reality, affordability, accessibility and opportunity for anonymity can also lure otherwise healthy people into an addiction.

Dr. Cash's patient Mike, who was granted anonymity to protect his privacy, was at high risk for an Internet addiction, having battled alcohol and drug abuse and depression. On a list of 15 symptoms of Internet addiction used for diagnosis by Internet/Computer Addiction Services, Mike, who is unemployed and living with his mother, checked off 13, including intense cravings for the computer, lying about how much time he spends online, withdrawing from hobbies and social interactions, back pain and weight gain.
Hmmm... Let's see, I'm always checking the computer, but it blogs or email or the news... I've put on a few pounds... my social interactions are relegated to the small screen...

Danger. Danger. Danger, Will Robinson!

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