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Is internet addiction for real?

Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is as real an addiction as alcoholism or compulsive gambling and has both personal and professional consequences. But what is it exactly?  To define the disorder, we can say that “internet addiction” is a general term used to describe several subtypes of addiction related to the world wide web.  These subtypes of internet addiction include:

Gambling
Gaming
Social networks
– Chat rooms
– Email
– Facebook
– Instant messaging
– MySpace
– Texting
Online auctions
Pornography
Shopping

In the United States, accurate estimates of the prevalence of the disorder are lacking and internet addiction is only gradually gaining recognition.  However, IAD has already been clinically established in Asian countries such as China, Korea, and Taiwan, where Internet addiction has reached, by some observations, epidemic proportions. An estimated 10% of China’s 40 million young web users are believed to suffer from internet addiction, for example (according to a 2007 report on the implementation of the Law on the Protection of Juveniles)

However, all do not agree that Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is a new type of addiction

At the moment, internet addiction is not recognized as an impulse control disorders to be clinically outline in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition…the handbook for psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health professionals that diagnose addictions.  Why not?  Well, experts do not agree whether internet use constitutes a pathological behavior that meets criteria for an independent disorder, or represents a symptom of other psycho pathologies.

What do you think?  Is internet addiction for real?  Do you know any internet addicts?  Should the mental health community address a growing trend or is overuse of the internet simply a product of an evolving world?  Opinions are welcomed.

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5 Responses to “Is internet addiction for real?
Hydrocodone Addict
7:22 am November 6th, 2009

It was real in my life. It was more of the mmog games that I turned to after I got off of drugs, Anything that a person escapes their reality or feelings can be a addiction. I experianced the same feeling from my online game use as with my drug addictions

Dean
5:43 pm June 28th, 2010

Thank you for your insights on internet addiction. I think that we are just beginning to scratch the surface on this problem.

6:53 pm August 6th, 2010

Thanks for sharing your experience, Hydrocodone.

Taylre
3:10 am October 9th, 2012

What about compulsive researching? Or perhaps that is an OCD behavior instead of an addiction.

1:04 pm October 15th, 2012

Hi Taylre. Yes, I think that behaviors such as researching are less of an “addiction”, which is characterized by drug craving, and fall more into a compulsive behavior category. But to be sure, I would consult with a psychologist or psychiatrist.

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