Since the first mention of internet addiction in 1996, there has been a high amount of speculation and debate as to whether internet addiction is a valid mental disorder.
Since the first mention of internet addiction in 1996, there has been a high amount of speculation and debate as to whether internet addiction is a valid mental disorder. As some medical specialists claim, Internet Usage Disorder (IUD) is a real œup-and-coming problem in the vast populations of internet users; on the flip side, others feel that not enough study has been done to truly accredit validity.
An addiction is characterized by a repeated action or indulgence that generally becomes uncontrolled and further begins to have severe consequences on multiple aspects of a healthy life. This means that basic everyday aspects such as relationships, careers, and physical and mental health become strained or deteriorated due to the addiction. Sex addiction for example, can cause shame, guilt, embarrassment, and other psychological issues.
While substance addiction, such as drug and alcohol abuse, are very solid addictions proven to influence chemical compositions in the brain, there are also many behavioral addictions that provoke similar changes in the brain as well. Examples of behavioral addictions are sex, gambling, shopping and theft addiction, keeping in mind that there are many more that unlisted here.
The question of whether or not internet addiction is a valid addiction will most likely remain a question for the next five to ten years, as research is still being conducted. While IUD is listed in a psychiatric manual for mental disorders, the listing only serves as a guideline for doctors and is not the preliminaries for a setup of addiction treatment.
There are many people who spend their entire day online and in front of a computer. With the sudden burst in technological advancement over last decade or two, there are just as many jobs involving computers and the internet as there are in physical labor, if not more. Because of this there is considerable controversy as to the validity of IUD. Since so many must spend countless hours surfing the web to make a living, and so many more do so for pure enjoyment, it has been hard to pin down factual evidence.
However, something must be said for those who actually do suffer from IUD. The fact that research is being done, or that a name exists for the possible addiction, shows that there are people in the world suffering from an addiction to the internet. Other countries such as South Korea and China have in fact dedicated large amounts of resources and scientists to the study, and have implemented aid for those who do suffer from IUD. Although far removed from the United States, the information found by foreign doctors should not be so easily discredited.
The media has even touched upon the possibility of IUD. Television shows such as True Life of MTV, has showcased several episodes dedicated to people who live second lives over the internet, are addicted to the internet, addicted to porn through the internet and many other forms of this so called ˜non-existent' addiction. It is strikingly baffling as to how certain medical professionals can continue to discredit the validity of IUD, despite the fact that there are Americans suffering physically, mentally, and inter-personally from abnormally high tendencies of internet use.
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