Addiction

The Relentless Drum Beats on about Problematic Internet Use aka “Internet Addiction”

Here's how Slate recently positioned yet another study on "Internet addiction:"

“Problematic Internet Use” Is Now Officially a Thing

The original title of the exact same article on The Conversation was little better:

There’s a new addiction on campus: Problematic Internet Use (PIU)

Why are media outlets continuously pushing problematic Internet use on an unsuspecting public?

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Addiction

How Internet Addiction Almost Ruined My Life


Is my life that attached to the Internet, or was I using it as an escape from life altogether?

It was nearly a decade ago that I transitioned into a career that involved working almost entirely in the digital space, and social media began to take over my life.

Since basically forever, the online world always held a certain siren's call. ICQ and LiveJournal, IRC and Friendster. I illustrated my mood via cryptic AIM status messages, and exhibited deep feelings of hurt when I'd put someone important to me in my MySpace Top 8 and they didn't do the same for me.
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Addiction

Not in the DSM-5: Internet Addiction & Parental Alienation Disorder

Disappointing to some professionals, I'm sure, is the fact that two disorders didn't make it into the DSM-5 at all -- not even in the chapter "Conditions for Further Study."

Those two lonely disorders? "Internet addiction" and parental alienation disorder.

This is a nice respite from the hype surrounding both these concerns and reaffirms what we've been saying here for years -- these are not mental disorders. Do some people have a usually-temporary and almost-always transitory problem with figuring out how much time to spend on the Internet? Sure they do -- it's just not a disorder-level concern.

And the evidence is simply too sparse for "parental alienation disorder," which I believe has propagated more for legal than clinical reasons.

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Addiction

Is Internet Addiction Really the ‘New’ Mental Disorder?

I was a bit mystified at Alice G. Walton's piece on Forbes today about the "new" mental disorder, Internet Addiction Disorder (traditionally called IAD, but the DSM-5 draft has confusingly renamed it the unfortunate Internet Use Disorder, or IUD).

As readers of World of Psychology know, Internet Addiction has been around since 1996. Indeed, we published our Guide to Internet Addiction back in 1999.

Here it is 13 years later, and there's still no clear answer on whether this disorder actually exists.

Indeed, the DSM-5 working group on addictive disorders wasn't convinced either. That's why it is not going to be included as a diagnosable disorder in the new DSM 5, out next year.

Yet the Forbes piece makes just the opposite claim. So what's going on?

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Brain and Behavior

Virginia Heffernan on Internet Addiction

I've been saying it for as long as it's been around -- "Internet addiction" is an unhealthy focus and fascination on the technology, as though it caused people to enjoy spending time interacting with it. If people are using the Internet to socialize -- on Facebook, Twitter, etc. -- how can we turn around and characterize that as a bad thing? Would we engage in the same negative characterization if we were referring to someone who simply did this over the telephone? Or face-to-face?

Of course not. And that's the disconnect that happens when psychologists throw out these not-well-thought-out terms to describe something they are concerned about. They turn it into a dysfunction through inadequate and poorly theorized labels, that then get picked up by others and the mainstream media, and completely blown out of proportion.

So it was with a twinge of joy and a kick of my heels that I read Virginia Heffernan's piece full of common sense this morning over at The New York Times, describing the case of Gabriela, "a professed Internet addict, [and] a 20-year-old college student in New York."

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Brain and Behavior

Internet Addiction, Depression and Chinese Teens

An interesting new study was published earlier this week about "Internet addiction." Unlike many previous studies on this hypothesized disorder, this one actually took measurements at two different points in time to try and tease out the possibility that "Internet addiction" can cause mental health problems, like depression or anxiety.

Can we show that simply using the Internet causes depression? Researchers set to find out on Chinese teens.

Psychologist Lawrence Lam and his colleague studied 1,041 Chinese teens, mostly ages 13 to 16, who had no signs of depression at the onset of the study. Some of the group, however, had moderate to severe pathological use of the Internet (64 of the subjects).

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Brain and Behavior

Internet Addiction and Depression

A new study came out today that suggests that people who use the Internet a lot share something in common -- depression. What the study does not find is whether depression causes people to turn to the Internet for their social interactions, or whether excessive use of the Internet "makes" people more depressed:


Psychologists from Leeds University found what they said was "striking" evidence that some avid net users develop compulsive internet habits in...
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Brain and Behavior

Treating Internet Addiction is New?

I've been loathe to give any additional attention to the tiny treatment center in Washington state that says it's treating "Internet addiction" in a "first of its kind in the US" treatment program, seeing as it's already had over 350 media mentions in the past few days, including the one below in none other than the New York Times. Apparently when you start a media snowball rolling downhill, it's hard to stop for a moment...
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Brain and Behavior

The Internet Addiction Myth: 2009 Update

Two research articles were recently published that shed more light on the so-called "Internet addiction", a concept we've long lampooned here due to its continuing lack of scientific validity.

The first study (Dowling & Quirk, 2008) looked at one of the common measures of "Internet addiction," used by nearly all researchers who've examined this phenomenon -- the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (developed by the originator of the...
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Why Internet Addiction Still Doesn’t Exist

Doctors have no problem treating disorders that don't officially exist, including Internet addiction, one of those non-existent disorders that nonetheless actually has clinics devoted to its "treatment."

"But Dr. Grohol," you might protest, "How can you say that? There's been years worth of research showing Internet disorder does exist!"

And usually, I'd be on-board with you if that research actually was good research -- well-designed, without circular-logic reasoning and sampling issues. But Internet addiction is a perfect example of a fad disorder brought about...
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China Declares Internet Addiction, Imprisons Addicts

The Chinese government, in something right of George Orwell's 1984 has declared that "Internet addiction" is indeed a disorder (despite there being no agreement amongst researchers what constitutes the disorder). Why was that important? Why, so they can legitimately "treat" the disorder.

Government officials declared Internet addiction to affect anyone who spends six hours or more per day online (which would cover a huge swatch of the population at present, especially for those people who have computers at work). They must also exhibit...
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