Growing Concern over Internet Addiction Disorder

I didn’t realize how serious Internet addiction was until I read a recent article on The Huffington Post and learned that people can die from it. I know people who are obsessed with certain websites and Internet games that can take up most of their day. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Science have gone beyond anecdotes and found brain differences in those with an Internet addiction.

The research was conducted on people under the age of 21, half of whom were identified as having Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). Researchers said that the part of the brain affected by the Internet is linked to emotional processing, executive thinking skills, and cognitive functioning. The brain changes of those with IAD were similar to what to expect from an alcoholic. According to the article, researchers are deciding if Internet and video game addiction should be classified as a mental disorder.

I’ve seen people who check their Facebook page every few minutes or rush home to play the “Call of Duty” videogame. Sadly, they are over 30 years old. I can understand why researchers would consider it a mental disorder because these people are certainly displaying addictive behavior.

The article mentions two deaths that were at least partly attributed to Internet addiction. In 2007, when IAD’s bid for inclusion in the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was rejected, it was understandable, but today the idea of such a thing seems very real.

–Blayne Jeffries

5 responses

  1. Thanks for writing about this. I’m a recovered Internet addict, and recently wrote a book on how to beat Internet addictions, called “Web Rehab”. I definitely agree that it’s serious, and enormous value is being lost everyday because of it, especially for companies, but I’m actually opposed to IAD being included in the DSM-5.
    Defining IAD with specific quantitative criteria will only mean that the very ill get help when, in fact, we all need to think about how we’re using the Internet and whether it’s contributing to our health or detracting from it.
    Many people are online for more time each day than they spend sleeping. And often they’re asked to be online for work. So I’d argue that the risk of anybody developing an unhealthy relationship with the Internet is very high, although they might not notice it until it’s interfering with work and personal relationships.

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