INTERNET ADDICTION IS A MENTAL DISORDER

Internet addiction can make you mental

29 March, 2008

Is the internet your best friend? If so, beware.

Like any other addiction, addiction to the internet – manifested as excessive interest in online gaming, e-mailing, chatting and pornography – can be a “'clinical disorder” that requires psychiatric intervention.

Dr Jerald Block, of the Oregon Health and Science University, the United States, insists that too many hours spent on the internet can cause a compulsive-impulsive disorder.

Dr Block writes in an article published in the American Journal of Psychiatry: “The internet addicts exhaust emotions that they could experience in the real world on the computer through any number of mechanisms: emailing, gaming, and porn. Computer use occupies a tremendous amount of time in their life. Then if you try to cut the cord in a very abrupt fashion, they’ve lost essentially their best friend.”

Dr Jerald Block lists four noteworthy symptoms “that are sure to assure you or perhaps people around you that you are an internet addict.” They are:

  • When you are unable to keep track of time or are neglecting basics such as eating or sleeping.
  • Craving and display of withdrawal symptoms, including anger, tension or depression when a computer cannot be accessed.
  • A rising need for better computer equipment and software.
  • Negative effects such as arguments, lying, fatigue, social isolation and poor achievement.

Like any addiction, unfortunately, internet addiction is resistant to treatment and involves several risks and often has high relapse rates, writes Dr Block.

His study revealed that a number of children are quitting their school or are perhaps showing weak academic progress because of their internet addiction. Even adults have been found to leave their jobs to sit in front of their internet-enabled computer screens for long periods.

Though addiction to the internet is prevalent practically throughout the world, says Dr Jerald Block in his article, it is widespread and concentrated in China and Korea.

According to statistics, an average South Korean student in high school spends an astounding 23 hours a week gaming on the internet. What is worse, another 1.2 million people are at an impending risk of internet addiction and may seriously need counseling and similar measures to help cure them of this addiction, writes Dr Block.

In China 13.7% of teenagers – or, about 10 million – are reported to be addicted to the internet.

 

 
         
 

 

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