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Internet Addiction

Definition - What does Internet Addiction mean?

Internet addiction is a proposed but unproven disorder that involves excessive Internet use to the extent that it interferes with daily life. Excessive use may be determined by losing track of time, neglecting basic drives such as hunger and sleep, withdrawal systems, and negative behaviors including anger, fatigue and social isolation. Some opponents of classifying Internet addiction as a diagnosis in the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" argue that so-called Internet addicts are already covered under other diagnoses, ranging from depression, anxiety, impulse control disorders, or pathological gambling.

Other names for Internet addiction include Internet addiction disorder, problem Internet use, pathological computer use, heavy Internet use and pathological Internet use. It should be noted that the term addiction is considered distracting and divisive by some professionals.

Techopedia explains Internet Addiction

Internet addiction has been proposed for inclusion in the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders", fifth revision, which scheduled for publication in 2013.

Numerous studies have been done on Internet addiction. For example, research conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine in 2006 found:

  • One in eight people in the U.S. is addicted to the Internet.
  • The typical Internet addict is "a single, college-educated, white male in his 30s, who spends approximately 30 hours a week on non-essential computer use."
  • 14 percent of study respondents had difficulty abstaining from Internet use for several days.
  • 5.9 percent admitted that their Internet use impacted their relationships.
  • 8.2 percent admitted that they used the Internet to escape reality.
  • 3.7 percent were preoccupied by thoughts of going online when offline.

Prevention and correction research is varied. Families in China have used unlicensed training camps to “wean” their children from Internet overuse. In Seattle, a residential treatment center for Internet addiction opened in August of 2009, offering a 45-day program for six patients at a time.

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