Thursday, December 01, 2005

One More Link: Internet Addiction Disorder?

The New York Times reports that some mental health professionals estimate that 6 to 10 percent of the U.S.'s approximately 189 million Internet users are "onlineaholics" who suffer from a condition they call Internet addiction disorder. Other therapists, however, are opposed to such a designation, calling it a "fad illness." Addressing the question of what counts as addictive online behavior, Rick Zehr, the vice president of addiction and behavioral services at Proctor Hospital, says, "The line is drawn with Internet addiction when I'm no longer controlling my Internet use. It's controlling me."

In light of my last post, I found the following excerpt particularly interesting:
Dr. Cash and other therapists say they are seeing a growing number of teenagers and young adults as patients, who grew up spending hours on the computer, playing games and sending instant messages. These patients appear to have significant developmental problems, including attention deficit disorder and a lack of social skills.
Ironically, some therapists and treatment centers offer online counseling, a practice that according to critics is "akin to treating an alcoholic in a brewery."

A related article (linked to from the above article - I can't get the NYT link generator to work) offers the following 15 signs of Internet addiction according to Internet/Computer Addiction Services:


1. Inability to predict the amount of time spent on computer.

2. Failed attempts to control personal use for an extended period of time.

3. Having a sense of euphoria while on the computer.

4. Craving more computer time.

5. Neglecting family and friends.

6. Feeling restless, irritable and discontent when not on the computer.

7. Lying to employers and family about computer activity.

8. Problems with school or job performance as a result of time spent on the computer.

9. Feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety or depression as a result of time spent on the computer.

10. Changes in sleep patterns.

11. Health problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, weight changes, backaches and chronic sleep deprivation.

12. Denying, rationalizing and minimizing adverse consequences stemming from computer use.

13. Withdrawal from real-life hobbies and social interactions.

14. Obsessing about sexual acting out through the use of the Internet.

15. Creation of enhanced personae to find cyberlove or cybersex.

4 comments: said...

Yup- very addicting... even with blogs, writing and responding to posts...


Kerry Doyal said...

I am in denial & can not comment

KP said...

Kerry, acknowledging that you're in denial is the first step to overcoming. Eleven more to go!

Kerry Doyal said...

Thanks KP . . . I am stepping out by faith.