Thursday, September 3, 2009

Is Internet Addiction a Mental Health Disorder?

Is Internet Addiction a Mental Health Disorder?It's easy to lose a few hours a day to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or World of Warcraft. But do you think it's possible for a person become addicted to the internet?

Signs seem to suggest it's possible. Recently, a residential treatment center for internet addiction opened in the Seattle area. The center says its the first in the US. And several countries-like China, South Korea and Taiwan, take internet addiction very seriously and already have these types of centers available.

However, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) does not currently consider internet addiction as a separate mental health disorder. And there is a debate on whether internet addiction should be listed as a separate illness in it's next edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", due out in 2012.

Why is this important? Because, this manual plays a part in determining which mental illnesses get covered by insurance. Since internet addiction is not currently listed as a separate illness in the manual, treatment for internet addiction is generally not covered by insurance. The fee for the new treatment center is $14,000--a fee a lot of people may not be able to afford, even if they need the help.

Some experts say internet addiction is just a symptom of other mental illness, like depression and anxiety disorders.

What do you think? Does internet addiction exist? Should it be classified as a separate mental health illness? Share your thoughts.

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  1. I do not understand the difference between the internet addiction and addictions to other things such as drug, tobacco, gambling, etc. It is hard to make a comment.

    When you discuss about the internet addiction, do you have to point out what people are addicted to: porn, game, social network, etc.? It seems to me that internet is only the media where people develop addiction. In other words, people can be addicted to those things (e.g., games) without internet.

  2. Anything can become an addition. If it interferes or interupts your usual daily life, to the point of disruption and lack of sleep,socialization (in person), financial woes. What makes you tick,makes you sound. Outside of that, if excessive, and detrimental, is an addiction

  3. It may be an addiction, but as anonymous also posted It may probably be a vehicle only which caused the addiction. The person involved maybe addicted to social media, blogging , mmorpg etc. etc. Just a thought how about people addicted to twittering (is there such a term) whereas they are using their mobile phone for twitting are they considered internet addicts, phone addicts, twitting addicts?

  4. It is hard to determine whether net addiction can be classified as mental disorder as it seems that with today's prominence of social media, emotional issues appears to be among the reasons for internet dependency. Just my two cents.

  5. For many people, the internet is a means of escape from reality. An outlet. People choose to avoid it in many ways. Video Games, gambling, drinking, hoarding... etc. It makes the pain stop, if only briefly. They should umbrella these things together, as the same cause(s) typically are the root of all them. Let's face it, life sucks.