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.
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Filed Under: addiction, internet addiction, psychiatrists

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


    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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