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Internet Addiction: Fact Or Fiction ?

Mike Sachoff
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-12-14

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How much time do you spend on the Internet? Do you have trouble breaking away from games like World of Warcraft? Is your virtual life becoming more important than your real life? If you answered yes you may have an Internet addiction or disorder.

Currently there is no medical consensus on the possibility of Internet addiction. The American Psychiatric Association currently does not have a listing for Internet addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. There will not be a listing for Internet addiction for at least 5 more years when the manual will be updated in 2012.

Calling Internet use an addiction maybe too strong of a term. Dr. of Psychiatry Ivan Goldberg told the Washington Post that over use of the Internet should probably be classified as a disorder rather than an addiction.

An ironic element in the debate of Internet addiction is that there are scores of online help sites for dealing with the issue. It would seem that searching online for possible help concerning Internet addiction would not be the wisest course of action.

The posts I have read concerning the subject of Internet addiction have been varied. Dphelan wrote," Saying the Internet is addictive stretching it. If the Internet is addictive then how does the TV compare? At least when you use the Internet the user has to ask for something and interact. Unlike the TV where users just sit and turn into marketing victims."

Another post by 11kap said," It was better when people actually spoke and met each other in public and the kids played outside. Now everyone is getting fat from sitting around and weird and anti-social from too much computer use."

Until there is an official consensus within the APA and the medical community the debate over Internet addiction will remain. Until then we can all look to Tom Cruise I heard he knows the history of psychiatry and I don't.

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