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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: addiction, internet addiction, psychiatrists


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Alan, 18 Mar 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?

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.