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  1. #1
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Default Internet Addiction: A mental disorder?

    There was an interesting journal posted just this month that is already causing waves.

    Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction -- Block 165 (3): 306 -- Am J Psychiatry

    Thoughts?
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  2. #2
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    I think Internet addiction is a mental disorder much in the vein of alcoholism. And it's a mental disorder that I wish to eradicate in myself.

  3. #3
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    I question myself on it too. (Kiddo, can't see the link)

    e.g. this site for me. Before this was all the chat functions on msn etc.

    Lethe raised something, when I was laughing over how this is affecting my real life, by distracting me from it. And she said, "perhaps you are looking to be distracted".

    Some element of truth in that.

    The danger of a Net addiction is simply this I feel - it is widely accepted. In a sense, this form of escapism is socialised, and valid, more so than heroin, gambling, alcohol etc. We're likely to tease someone for being a luddite than being an internet-o-phile, isn't it? Could you live without email, google, yahoo, chat, this site, for a month?

    More than that, it creates this sense of intimacy with strangers that sometimes feel more real to me than a real life relationship. But I know it is not real. Still, the lines are hard for me to draw. It is why I've felt that I have to cut down and stop visiting here actually, but it is very hard.

    Knowing someone online, you feel a mental connection, emotional. That sense of attachment to the image is one of projection. Not real. But we still grow attached. Hence the addiction. So.. in a way, it is an addiction to illusion and escape.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uberfuhrer View Post
    I think Internet addiction is a mental disorder much in the vein of alcoholism. And it's a mental disorder that I wish to eradicate in myself.
    I would like to eradicate myself in my addictions, not the other way around!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    I question myself on it too. (Kiddo, can't see the link)

    e.g. this site for me. Before this was all the chat functions on msn etc.

    Lethe raised something, when I was laughing over how this is affecting my real life, by distracting me from it. And she said, "perhaps you are looking to be distracted".

    Some element of truth in that.

    The danger of a Net addiction is simply this I feel - it is widely accepted. In a sense, this form of escapism is socialised, and valid, more so than heroin, gambling, alcohol etc. We're likely to tease someone for being a luddite than being an internet-o-phile, isn't it? Could you live without email, google, yahoo, chat, this site, for a month?

    More than that, it creates this sense of intimacy with strangers that sometimes feel more real to me than a real life relationship. But I know it is not real. Still, the lines are hard for me to draw. It is why I've felt that I have to cut down and stop visiting here actually, but it is very hard.

    Knowing someone online, you feel a mental connection, emotional. That sense of attachment to the image is one of projection. Not real. But we still grow attached. Hence the addiction. So.. in a way, it is an addiction to illusion and escape.
    An addiction is something that someone wants to stop but feels powerless to do so, even despite it having negative consequences for the person engaged in the addiction -- or the people around that person. This is much different than people choosing to use something a lot.

    I would hate to lose access to the internet for even a day, because I use it for work (and more recently) socializing. The benefits, in my view, well exceed the cost and haven't hurt the people I care about (a few close friends).

    So, wanting something a lot and using it a lot, isn't enough for me to classify it as an addiction, even if the pains of giving it up would be great. The true test is whether I would be better off without it but continue to use it anyway under the sense that it is out of my control.
    Last edited by typo; 03-27-2008 at 11:08 PM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
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    ^^

    For one, I keep visiting the site at work, then end up sometimes bringing work home

    For two, I do need to build a real social life too. Though I'm an ENTP, I actually have a very small social circle.

    If we assume time is finite, the fact that I'm rabidly posting here every night is a bad sign, since that time can be used to build real contacts, in the place I am in, vs with folks I'd not get a chance to meet, nor build something real with?

    In addiction, the line between a choice or not is simply one of habit, isn't it? That's why the danger of the Internet addiction to me, it is too easy to become a habit.

    It is hard to argue that we could all be better off in the sunshine and facing our real worlds vs chatting with strangers here on the value of emoticons and leaving dead mouse tokens to each other.

    Edit: and it is perhaps ironic that we're debating net addiction online.

  7. #7
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    I went to the link loaded for bear frankly because I'm sick of being beaten up by this or that dogooder every time I turn around but to my relief, there are definite criteria:

    Conceptually, the diagnosis is a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder that involves online and/or offline computer usage (1, 2) and consists of at least three subtypes: excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations, and e-mail/text messaging (3). All of the variants share the following four components: 1) excessive use, often associated with a loss of sense of time or a neglect of basic drives, 2) withdrawal, including feelings of anger, tension, and/or depression when the computer is inaccessible, 3) tolerance, including the need for better computer equipment, more software, or more hours of use, and 4) negative repercussions, including arguments, lying, poor achievement, social isolation, and fatigue (3, 4).

    Thankfully, I can't say any of them apply. Sure, I enjoy the time on various groups I'm on but not to the above degree. I sure hope the folks like me who live in secluded areas or don't get out much either because they can't (as in disabled) or don't feel the desire to socialize irl don't start feeling/thinking they're sick. I'm sure there are some who fit the description but think its probably rarer than most think. As for it being used as an escape from relationships, etc and causing fights... that relationship will hit critical mass... probably break up and then the "addict" won't appear addicted anymore. As for those who use it for sex... its the sex they're addicted to.. not the internet. Before the net it was mags, movies and/or hookers... nothing new. Call me a cynic but, to me, this is just another guy figuring out a way to make a buck/write another psychobabble book.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uberfuhrer View Post
    I think Internet addiction is a mental disorder much in the vein of alcoholism. And it's a mental disorder that I wish to eradicate in myself.
    I think it is closer to gambling than alcohol, which I view as more biological. One of the things that keeps a gambler going is that there is something special in the way the brain interprets a benefit that comes at random. If the benefit were more expected, coming at specific intervals, most people would lose interest. Of course, the raison de etre of gamling is that the benefits are not expected but the principle of addictive random benefits can be applied to other areas. For example, I think a similar phenomenon may be at work in discussion boards, when people are waiting for friends to reply to their posts.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    ^^

    For one, I keep visiting the site at work, then end up sometimes bringing work home

    For two, I do need to build a real social life too. Though I'm an ENTP, I actually have a very small social circle.

    If we assume time is finite, the fact that I'm rabidly posting here every night is a bad sign, since that time can be used to build real contacts, in the place I am in, vs with folks I'd not get a chance to meet, nor build something real with?

    In addiction, the line between a choice or not is simply one of habit, isn't it? That's why the danger of the Internet addiction to me, it is too easy to become a habit.

    It is hard to argue that we could all be better off in the sunshine and facing our real worlds vs chatting with strangers here on the value of emoticons and leaving dead mouse tokens to each other.

    Edit: and it is perhaps ironic that we're debating net addiction online.
    For what it's worth, the emoticons discussion did make me think about the value of facial symbols with text, and Heart really hit me with the Shakespeare comment. I think the question of how or whether Shakespeare would use emoticons could fill a dissertation.

  10. #10
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    The last time I gave up the internet I did feel intense withdrawal symptoms and I do tend to use it excessively to the point of isolating myself. However, it hasn't reached the point of criteria 3 or 4 yet. I know some people like that though, and I think it is safe to say they have a problem. Maybe it should be listed as a disorder in the next DSM under those criteria.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

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