Thursday, October 8, 2009


I was feeling pretty good after my last post, and then I read this:

A World Wide Woe: Internet addiction sounds like a punch line. But it ruined my brother's life.

It's a Newsweek story written by a man whose brother ended up homeless, at least in part because of his internet addiction. I say in part because there may be other issues at play we don't know about (mental health, lack of support system, who knows?).

Here are three choice snippets:
    Though my brother has never been officially diagnosed as an Internet addict, he readily admits that he demonstrates all of the signs and symptoms of the compulsion. His was a world of constant refreshing, immediate access to new information and stimuli.
 OMG, that is totally me! Next:
[T]here hasn't been much comprehensive research on the topic, says Kimberly Young, founder and director of the outpatient Center for Internet Addiction Recovery because there aren't enough treatment centers from which to acquire comprehensive data. That's partly because there remains some skepticism about whether Internet addiction qualifies as a real condition. Greenfield says he's spent plenty of time trying to convince colleagues that Internet addiction is genuine, and Cash says she often hears from therapists who suggest that the issue isn't the Internet but whatever anxiety or depression compulsive users are suffering that may lead them to overindulgence.
Maybe it's not a real problem, after all. Internet usage is just a symptom, not a disease. Lastly:
    I also wonder how many other people are addicted to the Internet without even knowing it. Research from Greenfield and others suggests that as much as 6 percent of the Internet-using population may have an addiction issue. The quiz is one good way to get an idea whether you have a problem. It's based on the same methodology as other surveys to detect addiction. If you had to stop checking your e-mail for a week (let's assume that you didn't have to do so for work), would it bother you? "People are starting to self-examine," Rae says. "Do I play too much? What would that look like?"  
Shit. It is so real. And if no email for a week is the test, then I am definitely screwed.

But wait. Newsweek links to a quiz by ReSTART, an Internet Addiction Recovery Program. Its title: Are you addicted?

Let's find out! [See next post]

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