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History of internet addiction





deanhills
Internet Addiction is a disorder that dates from the mid nineties when the use of the Internet first took off. Studies are still in their infancy and no one can really agree on a definition, but this is a basic one I found on the Net:

slais.ubc.ca wrote:
Excessive, non-essential use of the internet that causes psychological, social or physical problems for the user.

I have been unable to find data of individual cases, as perhaps they would have been treated in confidence, but I have found some on-line documentation on research.

Dr. Kimberly Young, Founder and President of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, presented the first research on Internet Addiction at a Conference in Toronto in 1996. This was followed by numerous other studies, however none of those studies have been able to obtain reliable data from their subjects as games and virtual sex are accessed from home. Research studies in Asian countries where Internet Cafes are frequently used have been much more successful in obtaining reliable data. Attempts to measure the phenomenon in the United States have also been clouded by subjects who may be ashamed, in denial, or tend to minimize their symptoms. Research findings have been further complicated by those subjects who have other mental disorders and who would consult their psychiatrists for those problems, and also define their problems by those disorders rather than internet addiction. For example they could be alcoholics or drug addicts or have sexual disorders and be treated for those and not internet addiction.

Dr. Kimberly Young developed eight criteria to diagnose Internet addiction:

Quote:
1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous on-line activity or anticipate next on-line session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
5. Do you stay on-line longer than originally intended?
6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

If you can answer "yes" to five or more of the questions, then you may suffer from Internet addiction. If you fear that one may be addicted, she suggests an Internet Addiction Test. And if anyone needs immediate help, to contact her at Virtual Clinic.

Although there have been many studies done about internet addiction worldwide since Dr. Young's presentation in 1996, Internet Addiction Disorder is still not classified as a mental disorder. There are still psychiatrists who maintain that excessive use of the internet is not necessarily a symptom of internet addiction but a manifestation of other mental disorders. Those like Dr. Jerald Block of the Oregon Health & Science University are of a different opinion. Dr. Block is actively campaigning to get internet addiction and other compulsive uses of the computer officially listed in a manual used by psychiatrists worldwide to diagnose mental disorders. Towards this end he published a brief overview of the current status of Internet Addiction in an editorial in the March edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry. In this editorial he categorizes the following sub-sections of internet addiction:

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.

Results of research into internet addiction from countries such as South Korea where Internet cafés are frequently used, are much more conclusive. Research in South Korea for example revealed 10 cardiopulmonary-related deaths in Internet cafés and a game-related murder. The South Korean government estimates that approximately 210,000 South Korean children (2.1%; ages 6–19) are afflicted and require treatment. About 80% of those needing treatment may need psychotropic medications, and perhaps 20% to 24% require hospitalization. South Korea consequently considers Internet addiction one of its most serious public health issues.

Since the average South Korean high school student spends about 23 hours each week gaming, another 1.2 million are believed to be at risk for addiction and to require basic counseling. In particular, therapists worry about the increasing number of individuals dropping out from school or work to spend time on computers. As of June 2007, South Korea has trained 1,043 counselors in the treatment of Internet addiction and enlisted over 190 hospitals and treatment centers. Preventive measures are now being introduced into schools.

China is also greatly concerned about the disorder. At a recent conference, Tao Ran, Ph.D., Director of Addiction Medicine at Beijing Military Region Central Hospital, reported 13.7% of Chinese adolescent Internet users meet Internet addiction diagnostic criteria—about 10 million teenagers. As a result, in 2007 China began restricting computer game use; current laws now discourage more than 3 hours of daily game use.

Despite the cultural differences, Dr. Block maintains that the US case descriptions are remarkably similar to those mentioned above. Unfortunately, in his opinion, Internet addiction is resistant to treatment, entails significant risks, and has high relapse rates.

References
admin
This is an entry in the essay competition located at http://www.frihost.com/competitions/vc-1.html .
standready
deanhills wrote:
Internet addiction is resistant to treatment, entails significant risks, and has high relapse rates.


Isn't that true of most addictions? One must first find the underlining psychological problem a person has before treatment of any addiction can be successful. I need to research what the "significant risks" are that Dr. Block is referring to.

Congratulations Dean on winning the contest with this topic.
deanhills
standready wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Internet addiction is resistant to treatment, entails significant risks, and has high relapse rates.


Isn't that true of most addictions? One must first find the underlining psychological problem a person has before treatment of any addiction can be successful. I need to research what the "significant risks" are that Dr. Block is referring to.

Congratulations Dean on winning the contest with this topic.
Thanks Standready. Valid point you are making as well. Like murder for example also has an underlying problem. Internet has not been around that long however, and I am sure that as time marches on, that research and intervention studies will become much more sophisticated. The example of South Korea is a good one as it would seem they have made much progress on the intervention side of things.

I find it also difficult to figure out how one can successfully diagnose whether a person is really addicted to Internet. When does a hobby/lifestyle/habit become an addiction? Dr. Kimberly Young did develop eight criteria for checking whether one is addicted or not, but it would be interesting if those questions could be thoroughly verified and tested.
standready
Well, I guess I am not an addict since I only answered yes to question 5 of Dr. Young's test.
portoskt
is it realy possible to become addicted to internet
kainster
There used to be a hospital in China to cure internet addiction, but it turns out that "patients" were maltreated there
portoskt
on one side - everyone talks about internet addictions, and on other side you must use internet for almost every job you do.... so, what the big thing about that addiction... that is just a way of life in this time, no big deal
deanhills
portoskt wrote:
on one side - everyone talks about internet addictions, and on other side you must use internet for almost every job you do.... so, what the big thing about that addiction... that is just a way of life in this time, no big deal
Right, but some has a tendency of going overboard, living their lives on the Internet as a form of escapism. That is when it can get unhealthy.
weed
great information mate i was addicted to internet now have learned something
Tuvitor
I was addicted to the internet well before they started researching it.
milkshake01
A great essay. A good way to prevent being addicted is to have other things to do like Bowling or Cycling where you cannot use your phone to use the Internet.
baboosaa
you cannot get what is it that is making you use it.....but you will use it. It's like he pack of cigarette that you blow off when you want to have nicotine pumped into your system. It's not exactly the physical thing but it's similar to that because new researches have revealed that the human brain is so much complicated that it could get addicted to anything. It could get addicted to any particular sound that you might hear every day, a specific action, some food item that you may take, literally anything that could be discussed can make you addicted, it could be tangible or intangible.
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