Doctor Claims That Sending Too Many Text Messages Is A Sign Of Mental Problems

from the oh-please dept

Remember the doctor pushing to add internet addiction as an official mental disorder? In a recent journal article, he’s now saying that one sign of such a disorder would be people who send lots of text messages. Of course, as MobHappy puts it: “maybe they just like to chat to their friends?” Remember kids, too much communication = mental illness.

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Comments on “Doctor Claims That Sending Too Many Text Messages Is A Sign Of Mental Problems”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: real sign of a mental problem

Mental issue: writing techdirt articles.

Sign of serious psychosis: obsessively responding to techdirt articles while claiming everyone who does so is stupid.

Seriously though with regard to the article: as ever, each case is different. A person who sends large numbers of text messages in order to keep in touch with a lot of friends or to organise social gatherings is very different to the person who does so to avoid speaking to people in person. The person who sends texts to their spouse at work during the day is different to the one who sends them to their spouse in the next room. You can’t generalise this stuff, nor should you.

Jason says:

Re: real sign of a mental problem

Dear Angry Dude,

If you don’t like the site, you don’t have to read it. That’s the beauty of free speech on the internet. If you disagree with Techdirt’s content, that’s fine. If you want to contribute to make the site better, I’m all for that. But there is no need for name calling and forum trolling, especially in a community like Techdirt that debate topics in an intelligent and informed manner. There is no place for a “troll” in a community like this. Please, if you have nothing constructive to contribute, stop posting, especially the insulting comments.


LarryB says:

Re: Re: real sign of a mental problem

Am I the only one that is becoming numb to these types of comments? However noble you may think your comment is (and I don’t disagree with you at all), you’re doing nothing to add to the discussion. People will read the first sentence and scroll right on by after that. The only way to get people to behave properly is to force them into it and obviously that never goes over well.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

“Remember kids, too much communication = mental illness.”

No doctor ever said that too much communication equals a mental illness. In the same way, no doctor ever said that merely drinking too much alcohol equates alcoholism. And, also in the same way, no doctor has ever said that merely cleaning your house too much equals an obsessive/compulsive behavior.

The logical fallacy you are making is called a straw horse. You are changing the doctor’s argument to something ridiculous, in order to prove how ridiculous the argument is.

What the doctor said was that someone who obsessively sends text messages in such a way that their life is being negatively impacted, could be an indication of a disease.

The vast majority of people who drink alcohol are not alcoholics. The vast majority of people who clean their houses are not obsessive/compulsive. And in the same way, the vast majority of people who send text messages do not suffer from a disease. But that fact does not mean that no one suffers from such a disease.

Evil Mike (profile) says:

Re: Aim Fish

Are you aware you just combined a straw-man argument with a tautology? I, for one, am impressed. That was a very eloquent way to subdue one’s opponent with an imaginary weapon. Bravo.

…in such a way that their life is being negatively impacted, could be an indication of a disease.

Anything done to the point of negatively impacting one’s life could be an indication of “[insert something bad here].”

Fucking duh.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Re:

Mike is actually referring to his belief that one should get to the root of a problem before declaring what the problem is.

I’ll use my “addiction” to Mt Dew as an example. I am not, nor can I be, truly addicted to Mt Dew. I can be, and am, addicted to the caffeine in the drink. The addiction to Mt Dew is just the mental component. I can’t drink a Pepsi and get the same feeling of relief (mental withdrawal), but it douse get rid of the headaches (physical withdrawal). This is why my, and a lot of other people’s, addiction has been called caffeine addiction.

One cannot be addicted to the act of SMS-ing but one can be addicted to the chemical reaction caused by that act. Let us call it what it truly is.

Reality Check says:

Symptom of illness

I would like to actually take this thread to a higher level of intellect, and instead of respond to some of the more idiotic posts here, reply to some of the more intellectual and salient ones…

Truth be told, obsessive texting may be a problem. However, it is not likely to be a problem in of itself, rather a symptom of a larger problem.

So yes, obsessive texting, which results in isolation, loss of job, friends, and family, etc etc is a problem and may be classified as mental illness.

However, agai, it is not likely to be an illness itself, rather a symptom of a larger problem.

BlowURmindBowel says:

Everything new and different...

Everything new and different is actually really bad for you and will eventually make you crazy…

I’m addicted to solving hardware problems in computers at this office I go to, I do it for 8hrs a day 5 days a week. Wait I forgot, they pay me to do that… Nevermind.

(sorry I’m really not serious please don’t waste your time pointing out the error of my logic, I am already well aware!)

TheDock22 says:

I'm confused...

How can someone txt message too much? I have never heard of anyone losing their job or having problems in their life due to txt messaging. In the end, you are interacting with another person in just a different form of communication.

I mean, I send about 500-900 txt messages a month, but that is because 90% of my friends use txt messaging to keep in touch and it is easier than calling and leaving a voicemail (getting your voicemails can be a pain). It doesn’t interfere with my life though.

I could see Internet addiction simply because it does isolate you from people and can cause major trouble in life. Isn’t that what makes an addiction? Something that you must have to fill your own obsessions which ends up severing ties to friends and family? I just don’t see how txting friends and family could cause isolation by any means.

CultureArtist (user link) says:


There are three components to addiction: 1. Withdrawal; 2. Tolerance; 3. Loss of control.
Examples would be:
Withdrawal: if you feel antsy or anxious when you can’t send text messages…
Tolerance: You find yourself sending more and more text messages
Loss of control: Your obsession with sending messages has had a significant impact on your school, work, or social life (for example, getting fired for playing on the Internet; getting dropped from a class because you can’t stop texting long enough to pay attention; forgetting a date because you were too busy surfing the ‘Net)

Oninous says:


I appreciate the light the OP wrote the article in and see his last statement about communication as what it is, a joke. That comment says it all and I agree! I think this doctor is trying to trailblaze into a field that he has to literally define himself and someof us out here think it’s completely rediculous. On the otherhand, if he finds merit in his assesments… Really, I think he is looking for too much in too little but I will say we will have to wait and see if his persistance drums him out of respect for his work and straight into being 45 and living in his parent’s basement.

Dr.Dr. says:

Has anyone actually read the article?

Just a thought…has anyone actually read the original editorial article in the American Journal of Psychiatry?

I have, seeing as this is the field I work in).

Dr. Block is not calling for text messaging to be considered a mental illness. He clearly states that this is but one component to a larger illness, an obsessive-impulsive spectrum disorder…I think some people have already claimed (correctly) that it is not an illness but a symptom.

Maybe we should just stick with the simple tech related things, since medical and health issues are way too complex for the bulk of those who post here.

Before commenting on something you people have absolutely no knowledge of, try reading the original articles that are cited in the blog posts….you might be enlightened by something.

Comments from the silent world says:

lots of eyeball rolling...

I saw this article earlier this year in March of 2008. At the time I read it, I was so furious that I decided that it was not worthy of a response. It is now several months later that I just happened to come across this topic once again and have decided that its time to educate the pyschologists in their flawed thinking and to consider their results as completely without merit. The reason? Millions of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people use text messaging as an accessible accommodation in communication than talking on the phone. If that’s labeled as a mental illness, then the buffoons in the psychiatry field ought to consider a different profession.

Paul C. Herson (user link) says:

Caffeine Addiction

How can Caffeine Addiction cause an energy rise in your body.

Caffeine is currently of the most consumed substances in the world nowadays, but many people ignore caffeine effects in the body, especially when a person suffers caffeine addiction or abuses of it somehow.

In this article I would like to point out the most negative caffeine effects on your body and what caffeine energy produces on your body, as well as mentioning some special facts about caffeine addiction.

Drinking various cups of coffees in a day is not good at all, especially if we drink it in the late afternoon or night, because the caffeine will stay in our bodies for up to eight hours, which affects our sleep.

Caffeine also affects the levels of cortisol in the body, leading to more cravings for carbohydrates and fats and mass weight onto our stomachs; abdominal fat causes bigger health risks than other kinds of fat. However, if you drink coffee in the morning and exercise straight afterwards, it can help you to burn fat 30 percent more efficiently than without taking it, because it helps to keep blood sugar levels up, making us less hungry.

Caffeine energy is understood as the energy that people usually experience when they consume caffeine. Caffeine energy usually gives our energy levels a temporary increase, but after it disappears we may suffer mild depression and start feeling lethargy, making it harder to exercise. So in other words, caffeine energy causes a quick improvement in our energy levels but it is just temporary and will cause an energy decrease afterwards making it hard for us to exercise.

Energy drinks contain caffeine energy and they have exactly the same effect, and I have experienced this myself: when you buy an energy drink because you stayed awake all night long at a party and you have to work the morning after, it will definitely make you feel energized at the moment, but then it will make your heart to work harder and harder, so when go home you will feel extremely lazy and lethargic that the only thing you will think about is sleep.

Caffeine effects can be explained like this: it works in the brain by attaching itself to the neurotransmitter adenosine’s receptors; adenosine causes brain cells to be less active, which causes us to feel drowsy. Given that caffeine’s chemical structure is comparable to adenosines, it can attach to adenosine receptors and therefore block adenosine from doing its job properly. So, a good fact about caffeine effects is that it makes brain cells become more active and it makes us feel more alert.

Other caffeine effects (negative) that I have not mentioned yet are: headaches, excessive sleepiness, a feeling like you can’t function without it or flu like symptoms. Caffeine consumption reduces dopamine (a neurotransmitter that is produced by the brains and plays a critical role in the function of the central nervous system), and it can also create more depression and anxiety, as well as an increased heart rate, increased blood sugar, difficulty concentrating and mild stomach upset.

You can find more info at:

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