If you’re reading this right now, you’re on the Internet, or you just were. Let’s say you weren’t on the Internet — would you feel uncomfortable, out of touch or nervous in any way? Answering yes to that question might mean you’ve got Internet Use Disorder, a condition which might be a certifiable mental illness in the future. Psychiatrists have recommended the condition be studied further in advance of the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM.
Want to know if you have it? The definition from the American Psychiatric Association (via TechNewsDaily.com) lists the following symptoms as signs you might have IUD, and closely connects it with online gaming:
A preoccupation with gaming, withdrawal symptoms (such as anxiety and irritability) while offline, the need to spend increasing amounts of time gaming (called “tolerance”), loss of other interests and hobbies, inability to limit gaming time, use of gaming to improve mood, deception of family and friends about extent of use, and jeopardizing opportunities because of gaming.
It’s not only gamers, however, as many studies of the condition have applied it to excessive Web use in general. Team up that condition with nomophobia and that’s like a whole new can of technological worms.
But seriously, researchers Internet addiction could cause permanent damage to certain brain regions, the same areas affected by drug and alcohol addiction. One study found reductions in brain volume in 18 young people addicted to the Internet compared to brain volumes of non-addicts. Researchers think that kind of damage might hamper people’s ability to process things emotional, pay attention and hinder their cognitive control.
Some experts warn not to jump on the mental illness bandwagon, however, calling such a classification an over “medicalization of everyday life.” The point being, why does any problem with excess have to be an indication of a mental disorder? And no I am not going to go offline at ANY POINT TODAY AND YOU CANNOT MAKE ME. So there.
What Is Internet Use Disorder? [TechNewsDaily.com]