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Does Someone You Know Have Internet Use Disorder?

Does Someone You Know Have Internet Use Disorder?

Know someone who spends way too much time on the Internet playing online games? What about someone who must check their list of sites at appointed times for fear of missing that vital email or must-read news story?

Well, Web addiction is on its way to being classified as a mental illness now that “Internet Use Disorder” has been added to the latest edition of the freshly revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V) for 2013.

However, Internet Use Disorder comes with a caveat – clinicians warn that the phenomenon of Internet addiction needs more study.

Still, there is evidence enough to suggest that unfettered and unhealthy use of the Internet should be a concern.

What are the symptoms of Internet Use Disorder?

Internet Use Disorder or IUD presents itself in many ways that are standard for addiction. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • A “preoccupation” with the Internet or Internet gaming
  • Withdrawal symptoms when no longer able to access the Internet
  • An increasing tolerance to the stimuli which means they require more time and greater Internet use in order to achieve the same high
  • A loss of other interests
  • Using the Internet to replace or make up for a lack of human relationships
  • Failed attempts at quitting their Internet overuse
  • Using the Internet as a tool to escape or improve general depression and sadness

While rare in adults, those children suffering from Internet Use Disorder have been known to become angry and violent when their supply of Internet time is interrupted. We have also heard scare stories about young people dying during marathon online gaming sessions because they developed fatal DVT.

While there have been reservations about officially classing Internet Use Disorder as an actual mental illness, recent studies, including this one published in 2011, have also shown there are physical changes in the brains of adolescents suffering from what would be termed an Internet or online gaming addiction — and these changes are remarkably similar to those presented in the brains of adolescent drug users.

There is also evidence to suggest that Internet addiction could impact dopamine and dopamine receptors in the brain.

When it Comes to the Internet, How Much is Too Much?

Perhaps one of the reasons why Internet Use Disorder has been quite controversial is that, while adolescent online gaming may be an extreme example, more subtler forms of addiction — and whether it is an addiction at all — could be much harder to spot.

At what point does addiction kick in? And what constitutes “unhealthy” use? For instance, for the elderly the Internet may be a welcome means through which to connect to loved ones and by which they might maintain their independence, having at their fingertips the means to order their shopping, pay their bills and interact with communities they would otherwise be cut off from.

When we throw out the extreme scare stories, the litmus test seems to be if we or others detect that our Internet use has become obsessive or is detrimental to other areas of our lives and our relationships.

Loving your Internet games and online interactions is a passion then. Using technology and the Internet to fill a void would appear to be where it becomes dangerous.

This and further symptoms of Internet Use Disorder is what further study will illuminate.

 

Related Reading:

Step Away From the Computers, Says Silicon Valley

Young People Want To Work Outside In An Online Age

Devouring The Planet: Humankind’s Addiction to Stuff

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154 comments

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6:58AM PDT on Apr 4, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:26PM PST on Dec 18, 2012

Hello,

I'm a TV producer with Screaming Flea Productions in Seattle, WA. We are currently developing a show on addictions, compulsions and obsessions for a major cable network. I have been assigned to cast in the area of tech/social media addictions. If you or someone you know has a serious Facebook (or other tech-social media problem) please contact me via email at jessicas@sfpseattle.com or by phone: 206-496-5653.

Thank you,

Jessica S.

Casting Development Team, Screaming Flea Productions Inc.
http://www.sfpseattle.com/

2:43PM PST on Dec 2, 2012

Let's see.. 99.99999% of teenagers, most adults, nearly all young-adults, some elderly & chlildren as well.

Also find myself addicted to walking, to oxygen & breathing, sleeping nightly, showering regularly, keeping up with currents events (i.e. news), wearing glasses (myopia), and taking supplements that will likely add years to my life.

Yup, full-blown "addict", and damn proud.

3:47PM PST on Nov 27, 2012

"Our findings suggest that internet use has a positive effect on depression" Dr. Sheila Cotten, Professor of Sociology, University of Alabama

."Internet addiction" may soon spread like wildfire. All the elements favoring fad generation are in place: the profusion of alarming books, the breathless articles in magazines and newspapers, extensive TV exposure, ubiquitous blogs, the springing up of unproven treatment programs, the availability of millions of potential patients, and an exuberant trumpeting by newly minted "thought-leading" researchers and clinicians" Dr. Allen Frances, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry.

"We have a (psychiatric) diagnosis for everything and everybody. We don't aim to make people healthy or even allow as to how they may be healthy, but we call them sick" Dr. Ronald Ricker, Psychiatrist

"Psychiatrists love defining new disorders and creating more and more subcategories" Dr. Oliver James, Clinical Psychologist

11:17AM PST on Nov 12, 2012

WELL, I GUESS I AM A COMPUTER ADDICT, SOMETHING ELSE TO ADD TO MY LIST OF ILLS!! EXCEPT FOR DOING A LITTLE HOUSEWORK, MY LAUNDRY AND TAKING TWO DOGS OUT IN THE YARD (SEVERAL TIMES A DAY), I AM ON THE COMPUTER. I DO NOT EVER PLAY ANY COMPUTER GAMES THOUGH. AM I STILL AN ADDICT???

12:29PM PST on Nov 4, 2012

Some people may have their fun with this article but I would take it serious if I were you. It can affect many parts of your life if you suffer from it. Read about many people who had a gaming and or internet addition and is wasn't quite funny to life with something like that...

7:48AM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

ty

5:07AM PDT on Oct 17, 2012

Oh, well - something else possibly wrong with me....

5:04AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

Well I must have Care2 posts disorder!

10:36PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

My son unfortunately. Decobecq B're lucky if you think it's an invention of psychiatrists ...

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