Some Psychiatrists Addicted To Prescribing Internet Addiction

from the must-be-good-for-business dept

Over the past few years, we've seen so many "calls" to label the use of certain technologies as "addictions" that we've noticed something of a... well... addiction by some to call for new technology addictions. Among the long, long list of possible addictions has been email addiction, web addiction, online porn addiction, video game addiction, internet addiction, and mobile phones or other gadget addictions. Almost every time, the call for addiction comes from a psychologist or psychiatrist trying to build up a reputation for treating such "addictions." It must be good for business (and perhaps a lot less harrowing than treating some other types of addictions).

So it shouldn't come as any surprise to see a psychiatrist now calling for internet addiction to become an officially classified addiction in the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (basically the official rulebook for such things). Of course, there are a few problems, including the fact that research has shown little evidence that the internet is really addictive, and almost every story of internet addiction really tends to be about deeper issues that resulted in someone seeking an outlet on the internet (from depression, bad family situations, alcoholism, etc.). Focusing on the "internet" part tends to have people trying to treat a symptom, not the disease. Hopefully, this new push will follow the same path as the one last year to have video games declared an addiction too. It didn't take long for that idea to get shot down.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Links

    In your addiction links, you list Web Addiction twice, each time to the same URL. O.o

     

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  2.  
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    Mike (profile), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:23am

    Re: Links

    Whoops. That must show how addictive it is. :) Fixed now.

     

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  3.  
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    Matt, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:23am

    Re: Links

    That's because Mike has an addiction :)

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    Comparison

    Well, if that's the case, we could compare internet to food. People develop an addiction to food due to other problems, and they think that's a decent way to deal with it.

    I also highly doubt they'll manage to get it in DSMV.

     

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  5.  
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    Dr. Physcho, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Internet Addictions

    Obviously Mike Masnick you are offended by this. I can feel it in your writing. Why the guilt? Do you use the Internet too much?

    Actually, all kidding aside, ANYTHING in excess is not good for you and can be considered addiction. Calling it addiction is necessary to begin healing someone and to ensure medical insurance coverage for the patient.

    You have to ask yourself, has this behavior "harmed" any aspect of my life? Has it effected my family, my job, financial status? If Yes, then you need help. If not, don't worry about it.

     

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  6.  
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    Joshua Bova, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:38am

    Dear TechDirt,

    Look for a cease and desist letter in the mail, (remember not to show anyone once you get it) as I have already trademarked all "…technology based addiction nomenclature as it pertains to human, and animal (both domestic and wild) behavior and said organisms' interactions with anything deemed as 'technology'."

    Technology is defined as "'the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization.’"

    Examples begin with the wheel and pretty much carry on through to anything man made.

    Your flagrant disregard for applicable copyright of such terms clearly violates fair use agreements... blah blah.

    Suck on that™...

    -josh

     

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  7.  
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    Thirsty Thetan (profile), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:46am

    Oh, crap!

    This will be used as another "proof" that the "psychs" are only out to make more money from false diagnoses. The $cientologists are going to love this. In fact, I expect the OSA (Office of Special Affairs, basically the dirty tricks department of $cientology) spammers to start hitting alt.religion.scientology with news of this article before the day is over.

    This means you, Trudy, Nina and Angela.

    TT

     

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  8.  
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    Pro, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:47am

    Medical and dental

    The declaration and acceptance of "depression IS a disease" was worth billions to the medical industry, and it opened the door to countless medical practices that I would consider scams.

    Any of you with young kids like me are probably being put through the same ringer that I have been with all these dentists that want to drill into baby teeth "because of deep grooves" that might eventually become a cavity. They're always coming at you with something new. My kids are also constantly being put on prescription medications by the doctors too... Flouride drops, Nasonex, laxatives, you name it - we've been told we need it.

    We're all being preyed upon and our money and futures being stolen so that some asshole can turn a buck. Internet addiction? I bet they'll find a pharmaceutical cure.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:51am

    WTF...

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    Dear Josh,

    You are an idiot. Stop! You are not funny.

    Love,

    Your mom

     

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  11.  
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    TheDock22, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 10:53am

    I thought most addictions...

    ...were because of underlying conditions such as depression, alcoholism, etc.

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction as much as we all love Wikipedia, I found this summary interesting)

    I really don't see the problem in allowing Internet Addiction to be added to the list. I agree with post #5 that getting these terms added simply allows insurance companies to offer money for treatment. And some people do need treatment. I can see it possible for someone to spend so much time surfing the Internet that it starts affecting their daily life including work and family (not to mention the physical problems that could come up like carpal tunnel, eye strain, and the results of a sedentary life style).

    Just because I don't suffer from Internet Addiction doesn't mean I am blind enough to think no one can have it. Beside, how is Internet Addiction any different from a Gambling or Shopping Addiction (both which are in the book by the way).

     

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  12.  
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    Jaqenn, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    I feel obligated to echo a particularly insightful post I read over on Slashdot:

    It's easy to say 'Pfft, you can be addicted to *anything*, what's the point in adding the internet?'. Someone mentioned that different types of addictions (i.e. food, sex, gambling, whatever) usually have *very different* treatments. Adding internet as an addiction means that psychologists have a way to collect treatments for the addiction.

    I agree that the suggested treatment should read 'Look for underlying problems which they escape by drowning in the internet.' But after reading that comment, I can't agree that adding it to the list was worthless.

     

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  13.  
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    Internet Pusher, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 11:37am

    Addition to the Addiction

    I think posting to Techdirt is addicting... oops... better go get it treated... electro-shock anyone?

     

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  14.  
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    RevMike, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    "Prescribe" is not the word you are looking for

    "Prescribe" is something a medical professional does in order to treat a condition. You meant to use the word "Diagnose", the process that a medical professional uses to determine the condition. "Some Psychatrists Addicted to Diagnosing Internet Addiction".

    Psychatrists aren't telling people to go out and become internet addicted in order to manage some other condition, they are telling them that they have a condition call "internet addiction" and are then prescribing some treatment.

     

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  15.  
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    Wolferz (profile), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Oh, crap!

    You think they aren't? Look... Scientology is over flowing with kooks but there is demonstrable evidence that psychologists in the US prefer to prescribe medicine that requires frequent checkups. Just because Scientology happens to agree with something doesn't make it wrong.

    There are countless diseases and disorders out there who's symptoms overlap with the symptoms of others. Half of the disorders out there now are really just vitamin deficiencies or the result of some other problem with a persons diet.

    For example, I've been developing a case of insomnia. At first I thought about sleep pills but after some research I found out that low amounts of melatonin can cause insomnia. Should I treat the symptom or the problem? Most doctors want you to treat the symptom. That way they can prescribe you a powerful sleep med that also requires refills... and thus return visits. They make a lot less money off of telling you to get out of your damned house and get some sun.

    The real scary part is that most of these doctors don't even know they are doing this. Many honestly would never make the connection between too much time spent indoors and loss of sleep. Those that do would very likely convince themselves sleep aids are a more reliable "solution." They have been trained throughout med school by their teachers, their peers, and the doctors they interned with to think this way, and they think nothing of it. The doctors, teachers, and peers that taught them to think this way didn't realize they were teaching anything out of the norm ether. It's no conspiracy. It's just Americans being Americans... sheep being sheep.

    I've been diagnosed with acid reflux disease twice now. Both times the doctors drew their diagnosis from completely different symptoms and both conflicted with each other. Both gave me different meds both of which they needed to see me every month to write a new prescription for and both of which had to be taken for life. Both meds had side effects I didn't care for and both didn't help the problems I actually went to the doctors for help with. Did some research and guess what? Turns out I had been eating a lot of food with garlic in it without realizing, too much in fact. Changed my diet and both symptoms disappeared.

    Two doctors, independent of each other, misdiagnosing me in favor of the latest big disorder, for conflicting reasons, unwilling to agree with me that the meds weren't helping, and both unaware of a much simpler, less expensive, and more permanent solution I found on the internet.

    Yes, doctors are diagnosing people in such a way that benefits them financially.

     

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  16.  
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    Wolferz (profile), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    Addiction

    A post above mentions that it is easy to say some one can be addicted to anything. Perhaps there is a reason it is so easy to say that. Perhaps it's easy because it makes sense.

    I have an addictive personality. I once played Need for Speed: Most Wanted for 2 weeks straight from sun up to sun down. I was playing it on XBox and used the right trigger for throttle. Halfway through the second week my right index finger started going numb. It stayed that way for almost a month before sensation fully returned to it. I also can drink 4 liters of soda in one sitting. I can eat enough food for four people at one time and be back for more in 30 minutes. I can spend 18 hours a day on the internet and not be phased by it.

    Anything that can give me even the slightest high is something I am capable of being addicted to. You see that is the key to understanding addiction. Addiction is chemical in nature. In the case of internet addiction, work addiction, etc your brain is releasing chemicals that make you feel good as a reward for accomplishing something. Is it possible to be addicted to the internet? Yes. The internet allows one to feel as though he has accomplished a great deal without expending very much energy.

    Should Internet Addiction be an official, separate, addiction? No. Work addiction has the exact same root cause. So does sexual addiction. So does addiction to video games. So does all of the addictions that don't involve putting chemicals into your body from an outside source. Thus it stands to reason that they are the same disease appearing in different ways. Would you give an entirely different diagnosis for dry skin based on where on the body it appears? That makes no sense and nether does separate diagnoses for endorphin-addiction.

    To quote Jaqenn above: "Someone mentioned that different types of addictions (i.e. food, sex, gambling, whatever) usually have *very different* treatments."

    Food... maybe. Sex... maybe. Those are specialized circumstances (survival) that our bodies react differently to. In the end however it still boils down to the release of endorphins used to train us to enjoy such activities. Gambling, Internet, Gaming, etc... There is no difference in the cause. Why should there be differences in the treatment? I'll tell you why. It's more profitable that way.

    Escaping from your bad home life by getting on the internet isn't even addiction. That's something else entirely.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Medical and dental

    Suggestion... Get a new doctor.

     

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  18.  
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    Thirsty Thetan (profile), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Oh, crap!

    You miss my point. Do I believe meds are over-prescribed in this country? Yes.

    Do I believe most doctors are only in it for the money? Absolutely not.

    Do most doctors treat only symptoms instead of trying to find the root cause for your illness? No, not most, but apparently most of those you have visited are like this.

    But let's leave regular MDs out of it for a minute:

    My point is that this is simply more fuel for the fire for $cientology to say that ALL psychiatrists are bad people. If you had any inkling as to their propaganda machine, you'd know they teach that every psychiatrist out there is ready to drug, rape and otherwise abuse you while giving you ECT and pre-frontal lobotomy.

    TT

     

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  19.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 2:42pm

    If you're worried about being prescribed meds that

    ...then try seeing a counselor that can't proscribe meds. I have several friends that were given prescriptions for meds when they saw thier MD and/or were referred to a psychiatrist (including one married couple that was having problems.). With two of them, taking the meds made them feel worse than being without, and several others didn't want to take a pill. I suggested that they see the counselor that my daughter sees, and all but the married couple are doing alot better now, without meds. (The married couple divorced and are hella happier now. Rofl.)

    Back to the point, if someone writes compulsively, you call him a writer. If you draw compulsively, you call him an artist. If someone uses the Internet compulsively, you call him an addict and give him a pill? Huh?

     

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  20.  
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    TheDock22, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    Re: If you're worried about being prescribed meds

    Back to the point, if someone writes compulsively, you call him a writer. If you draw compulsively, you call him an artist. If someone uses the Internet compulsively, you call him an addict and give him a pill? Huh?

    Give me one example where surfing the Internet is considered a profession in this country. Yea, I didn't think so.

    And your argument doesn't hold. If someone drinks compulsively , they need treatment. If someone gambles compulsively, they also need treatment. I would even say if someone writes and draw compulsively (enough to where it interferes with their normal life, like job, family, etc.) then they too have problems.

    Besides, everyone can write or draw, but not everyone is a writer or artist. Everyone can drink, gamble, and use the Internet, but that doesn't mean they necessarily have an addiction. Are there people with addictions out there? Yes. Burying your head in the sand and pretending Internet doesn't exist is silly.

     

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  21.  
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    Alan, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 3:53pm

    Methinks the man doth protest too much

    Mike, you make it sound as if the whole proposal must be bogus because it was made by a psychiatrist who specializes in dealing with the condition. But who else would propose it other than a psychiatrist who specializes in dealing with the condition? A non-psychiatrist? A psychiatrist who has never looked into the condition at all? You're quick to quote research that seems to say it's not a real problem, case closed, but if you dig deeper you'll find that what little research has been done has been very superficial. Certainly that means that it's probably too early to actually add internet addiction to an official list, but you seem to be on a personal crusade against it. Would you be willing to reverse your position if in-depth research came out showing that internet addiction really was a problem? You also claim that internet addiction, if it exists, is only a symptom, not a disease, and list alcoholism as one possible underlying cause. Correct me if I'm wrong, but many people become alcoholics because of other "underlying causes". Does this mean that alcoholism is only a symptom and shouldn't be treated? The thing about addictions is that even though they may start as the symptom of some other problem, they have a devilish way of becoming self-sustaining, even if the original cause if removed (and isn't that the definition of an addiction in the first place?). The fact is there are confirmed cases of internet addiction with deadly results. A Nevada couple nearly killed their two children through neglect while playing online games. A young man in Korea died after playing games for 50 hours straight. Can you tell me that these aren't real problems that shouldn't be treated?

     

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  22.  
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    Hi there, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 6:27pm

    WOW

    First I would like to say that if anything I might be able to qualify for an internet addiction then i realized that the only thing it gets in the way of is sleep and home work. Considering that I have to do math now even though I get it done on time before all my other internet addicted friends do and even good student friends. Has anyone here heard of the internet addiction camps that they have in Korea for teens that have played to many video games and have been on you tube (if they still have that there) too long, and for those who have never used there cell phone for more then internet and txtin. Oh and Josh, don't be stupid. And remember that your never safe on the web because you public is invading my private.

     

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  23.  
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    Rose M. Welch, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re: If you're worried about being prescribed m

    I didn't say 'if a published author writes' or 'if an accomplished artist draws'. I said if someone writes, if someone draws. For many, many, many people, writing and drawing, painting, acting, etc. is not a career, it's something that they feel that they need to do, however unpopular thier work might be.

    If someone packs up, quits thier job, and heads to L.A. to be a star, you might shake your head, but you wouldn't call it an addiction, even after they work shit jobs and sleep with producers to get parts. Like a crack whore might sleep with johns to score crack.

    We don't watch television in my home. We read and play on the Internet. We spend the same amount of time of those past times as the average American spends watching television. Are we addicted to book and the Internet? Are lots of people addicted to television? Oh my God, I work forty hours per week. Am I addicted to work?????

    I'd better call my doc and get a scrip for that. :)

    The point is that an addiction is an addiction regardless of whether an income can be had from it.

     

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  24.  
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    Kron, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 2:35am

    retiredss11"11!1

    "Give me one example where surfing the Internet is considered a profession in this country. Yea, I didn't think so."

    There are many ways to make a living (making you a professional) by "surfing" or "researching" things on the internet. I can't believe you just said that!! Dum di dum dum!

    I think I'm addicted to fruit. Quick, give me some meds!

     

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  25.  
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    Natasha, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 11:30am

    Children, children

    This argument would have more meaning had it been written by an adult - or rather, sound like it had been written by an adult.

    All I read was whining. I agree that it shouldn't be classified as an addiction (yet) because it really is just treating a symptom of something large. I also think that it can be useful to group a bunch of symptoms together, therefore psychiatrists will have an easier way of identifying and treating the "addiction", "symptom", however you want to define it.

    Really though, grow up.

     

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  26.  
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    Michelle McCormack, Nov 12th, 2008 @ 2:55am

    Internet Additction

    Deepak Chopra says the signs of addiction come in three immediate stages:

    - A thought about the subject (drugs, alcohol)
    - Extreme excitement
    - Fear

    Overuse of the Internet may cause the first two feelings, but the third, the one that really indicates addiction, is not there, I believe.

     

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  27.  
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    Michelle McCormack, Nov 12th, 2008 @ 2:55am

    Internet Additction

    Deepak Chopra says the signs of addiction come in three immediate stages:

    - A thought about the subject (drugs, alcohol)
    - Extreme excitement
    - Fear

    Overuse of the Internet may cause the first two feelings, but the third, the one that really indicates addiction, is not there, I believe.

     

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  28.  
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    frausimo, Nov 24th, 2008 @ 1:16am

    Internet Addictions

    Interacting with others through Internet to be very mesmerizing and cannot get over it. In fact, chatting is a huge cause for internet surfing addiction. The dissimilar and appealing online games and gambling options and other entertaining options also proves to be incredibly addictive. Internet surfing addiction can be described as a compulsive disorder. http://www.addiction-treatments.com/

     

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  29.  
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    frausimo, Nov 24th, 2008 @ 1:17am

    Internet Addictions

    Interacting with others through Internet to be very mesmerizing and cannot get over it. In fact, chatting is a huge cause for internet surfing addiction. The dissimilar and appealing online games and gambling options and other entertaining options also proves to be incredibly addictive. Internet surfing addiction can be described as a compulsive disorder. http://www.addiction-treatments.com/

     

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  30.  
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    Dana, Dec 25th, 2008 @ 1:19am

    trying to find a solution to limit the time your kids spend on the computer?

    I have noted that a percentage of people using the web do so in a compulsive and out-of-control manner and my son is not an exception. That’s no way than to limit his on-line activity. Easier said than done. :) Luckily, there is lots of parental control tools designed for that purpose. The one I use is Ez Internet Timer. Works great under my Vista 64-bit.

     

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  31.  
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    New York Drug Rehab, Mar 14th, 2009 @ 3:35am

    North York Drug Rehab

    New York drug treatment rehab center provide various remedial care ad camps troubled youths. The main objective of such camps is to give an atmosphere where disturbed kids can feel better, comfortable and focus on their aims. The services given by these boot camps are very effectual and helpful for the teens those have behavioral, mental and addiction problems. For more information you can visit our site which helps you in choosing the most appropriate rehab facilities and affordable drug addiction treatment programs.
    http://www.drugrehabscenters.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    tomwhite55 (profile), May 26th, 2010 @ 6:12am

    E-Prescribing

    Thanks for all of the great information! In this day and age various doctors are benefiting from the internet to conduct web consultations. E-prescribing is more accurate and safer than traditional hand written scripts. No more handwriting errors and when you e-prescribe you don’t have to worry about drug interactions or allergies because all your information is in the system. Web Prescribing is a great way to get online and get the prescriptions that you need! Just a recommendation, try it out!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    jjaazz, Jul 22nd, 2010 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Methinks the man doth protest too much

    I think what matters is whether or not there is a significant alteration of brain chemistry involved in the behavior. I think that's the basis of the disease model: that the addiction (the ongoing progressive "disease"0 has altered proper functioning of one's mind to the point that, for instance, they are in denial about what is obvious to anyone else. Not that anyone in denial about some aspect of their life could be considered an addict. Unless, there is a significant alteration of brain chemistry to which the person gets addicted. Imbalanced might be a better term to use, in both the behavioral and biochemical sense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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