Thursday, November 29, 2012

Internet Addiction Is The New Mental Health Disorder. By Alice G. Walton


There’s been a lot of controversy about some of the maladies included in the freshly revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V). Internet addiction, or formally, Internet Use Disorder (IUD), may soon be included as an actual mental health disorder, although the authors do say it still needs a lot of additional study. So what are the symptoms of IUD, and maybe more importantly for those of us flirting with it, what’s the treatment?

Internet Use Disorder has the many of the basic hallmarks of any other addiction. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the crafters of the DSM-V, a person with IUD will experience “preoccupation” with the internet or internet gaming, withdrawal symptoms when the substance (internet) is no longer available, tolerance (the need to spend more and more time on the internet to achieve the same “high”), loss of other interests, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and use of the internet to improve or escape dysphoric mood.

There’s been more and more scientific research devoted to understanding what IUD is, how it works neurologically, and how we can treat it. Research has shown that people with internet addiction have demonstrable changes in their brains – both in the connections between cells and in the brain areas that control attention, executive control, and emotion processing. Most intriguing is the fact that many of these changes are what you see happening in the brains of people addicted to cocaine, heroine, special K, and other substances.



And other research has found that people who are hooked on the internet have changes in how the brain’s dopamine system operates – dopamine is generally credited for allowing us to experience pleasure and reward. Some studies have found that people with internet addiction have fewer dopamine receptors in certain areas of the brain, and others have suggested additional ways in which dopamine function might be impaired. And very recent studies have suggested how certain genetic variations may be involved in internet addiction. 


If we accept that internet addiction or IUD is a legitimate mental health disorder, then what? How bad does it have to get before you get treatment, and for that matter, what is the treatment? ... Read the full story by Alice G. Walton in Forbes




Source: Forbes.com
Author: Alice G. Walton, Forbes's contributor. She cover health, medicine, psychology, and neuroscience ... ► more


1 comment:

  1. The closest thing I’ve seen to internet addiction involves getting caught in depressive ahedonia loops. Essentially caught up in the activity with little if any pleasure to satisfy them. – It’s not just internet other activities may fill the role.
    Mental health disorders

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