Is internet addiction for real?

A new form of dependency is characterizing our modern times – internet addiction. In fact, clinicians became aware of internet addiction as early as 1996. But do you know just what “Internet addiction” encompasses? And how pervasive is internet addiction disorder (IAD)? Learn more now.

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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:

Social networks
– Chat rooms
– Email
– Facebook
– Instant messaging
– MySpace
– Texting
Online auctions

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.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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