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Old 2nd Dec 2005, 4:41   #1
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Default Got a problem?

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Rising internet addiction 'on par with drug use'
By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 02 December 2005
Mental health professionals in the United States have highlighted the emergence of a new psychiatric problem on a par with alcoholism, drug abuse or obsessive gambling: internet addiction disorder.

It occurs when an American office worker who should be focussing on the tasks at hand is spending hours playing fantasy football on the computer instead. Or when an executive is so attached to his handheld device that he checks it last thing at night and then consults it the moment he opens his eyes in the morning.

Some people spend so much time online that they stop going out, their marriages break up and they are overwhelmed by depression and suicidal feelings.

According to estimates in The New York Times yesterday, as many as 10 per cent of the 189 million internet users in the US could be addicted.

Hilarie Cash, who heads Internet/Computer Addiction Services in Redmond, near Seattle, has identified a specific chemical rush - a dopamine high - which can be generated by even something as simple as receiving an email. She told The New York Times that she has seen instances of anxiety and depression in her patients.

Other internet addiction experts have developed 12-step programmes to wean people off their online habit, or started support groups for the addicts' spouses.

There are many definitions of internet addiction disorder. One by Jennifer Ferris, a psychologist from Virginia, points to seven telltale signs such as a thirst for ever more time spent online, trembling or even involuntary finger movements when the users is away from the computer, dysfunctions in day-to-day relations with friends and co-workers and, at the extreme, the loss of a job or a marriage because of excessive internet use.

However, other professionals argue that internet addiction is merely a new platform for other pathologies such as gambling or obsession with pornography.

Internet use is on the rise. A report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project this year found that more than half of American teenagers were online every day, compared with 42 per cent five years ago.

And its economic impacts are now being quantified. The business consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas recently estimated that American fantasy football alone was costing US employers $200m in lost productivity every season.

Mental health professionals in the United States have highlighted the emergence of a new psychiatric problem on a par with alcoholism, drug abuse or obsessive gambling: internet addiction disorder.

It occurs when an American office worker who should be focussing on the tasks at hand is spending hours playing fantasy football on the computer instead. Or when an executive is so attached to his handheld device that he checks it last thing at night and then consults it the moment he opens his eyes in the morning.

Some people spend so much time online that they stop going out, their marriages break up and they are overwhelmed by depression and suicidal feelings.

According to estimates in The New York Times yesterday, as many as 10 per cent of the 189 million internet users in the US could be addicted.

Hilarie Cash, who heads Internet/Computer Addiction Services in Redmond, near Seattle, has identified a specific chemical rush - a dopamine high - which can be generated by even something as simple as receiving an email. She told The New York Times that she has seen instances of anxiety and depression in her patients.
Other internet addiction experts have developed 12-step programmes to wean people off their online habit, or started support groups for the addicts' spouses.

There are many definitions of internet addiction disorder. One by Jennifer Ferris, a psychologist from Virginia, points to seven telltale signs such as a thirst for ever more time spent online, trembling or even involuntary finger movements when the users is away from the computer, dysfunctions in day-to-day relations with friends and co-workers and, at the extreme, the loss of a job or a marriage because of excessive internet use.

However, other professionals argue that internet addiction is merely a new platform for other pathologies such as gambling or obsession with pornography.

Internet use is on the rise. A report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project this year found that more than half of American teenagers were online every day, compared with 42 per cent five years ago.

And its economic impacts are now being quantified. The business consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas recently estimated that American fantasy football alone was costing US employers $200m in lost productivity every season.
I've cut back to less than half the time I used to spend at the PC. Now I read news sites on average one hour/day, maybe an hour and a quarter; email gets 3-4 hours a week; and then there's this place. Sometimes I follow quite closely, other times I don't check in for days at a stretch, and I don't go back any more to 'catch up'. It really has come home to me now, that the time is better spent with a book.
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Old 2nd Dec 2005, 11:33   #2
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Default Re: Got a problem?

Quote:
There are many definitions of internet addiction disorder. One by Jennifer Ferris, a psychologist from Virginia, points to seven telltale signs such as a thirst for ever more time spent online, trembling or even involuntary finger movements when the users is away from the computer, dysfunctions in day-to-day relations with friends and co-workers and, at the extreme, the loss of a job or a marriage because of excessive internet use.
Well, according to that list of little nasties, I'm relieved to find I'm definitely NOT an Internet addict. I use Google extensively and have to check and send email like everybody else, but that's about it. I get far too fidgetty sitting before a screen for hours to become an Internetty-Betty. But The Palimp definitely has me hooked. Interestingly enough, love you guys though I do, when away from home, I don't miss it at all (nor The Palimp - boom-boom!), and despite my joshing about that tropical Internet cafe, I wouldn't dream of looking in when away from home. In fact, the only reason we used the Internet on hol, was because we needed some vital information fast. But - and this bugs me something rotten - if I call in here early in the day, I'm sunk - especially if a particularly lively thread gets buzzing. Then I delay things I really shouldn't and spend far too much time hitting the log-in and Latest Post buttons. And from thereonin I have to keep popping back throughout the day with far too great a frequency. Wait until the afternoon or evening, no matter how hot the joint is jumping -and I can have me a play here and then leave it at that.
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Old 2nd Dec 2005, 13:48   #3
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Default Re: Got a problem?

Like Honey, I don't miss it when I'm away from home. But I do spend too much time on it both day and evening when I am at home (or at work...), so much so that my study has more or less become my new living room. Also: my overuse of the internet is a primary cause of excess spending - to bring in Oryx's thread - because it's when I'm idly browsing that I find books on eBay I simply must bid on, or forgotten films on Amazon that I have got to have right now.

All in all, I feel a new year's resolution coming on...
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Old 2nd Dec 2005, 14:14   #4
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Default Re: Got a problem?

Is running between the post box and Amazon.com considered addictive behavior ? Since I've reasoned it out to be good for my waist line, I've been thinking of it as "exercise" !


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Old 2nd Dec 2005, 22:55   #5
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My problem is no connection is fast enough, no keyboard keeps up with my lightning fast typing, no website loads quickly enough . . . I want spam eradicated, cookies crippled, and Microsoft and Bill Gates to equally distribute their wealth to the citizens of the world. I want Google in my pocket and weathertap in my wallet . . . Oh, did someone say something . . . I'll just be done in a minute . . . I'm in the middle of something important here . . .
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Old 5th Dec 2005, 11:17   #6
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Default Re: Got a problem?

I have not got internet addiction, but Palimpsest addiction - I have got that. When I'm at work, it is nearly always present in some window or other, and I click the New Posts button at 20 minute intervals. However, at the weekend I hardly miss it.
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Old 5th Dec 2005, 11:22   #7
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Default Re: Got a problem?

My Palimp window is open all the time at work, and when I am at home it is usually on the whole time as well, even if I am not looking at it. I have found myself on occasional enforced breaks wondering what was going on and how things are doing.
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Old 5th Dec 2005, 11:49   #8
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Default Re: Got a problem?

Ditto Wavid really. The computer is on all day until about 10pm and the Palimp-window is always uppermost. If at home I can't resist checking the internet and dropping in on favourite sites, but once away I'm okay. I did check in from New Jersey though in an idle moment. And I hate coming home and having to catch up with what's been going on.
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Old 5th Dec 2005, 11:56   #9
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Default Re: Got a problem?

What nags away at me is the thought that I am missing out on something: there is nothing worse than ploughing through screen of messages in a thread I would have loved to have been involved in.
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Old 5th Dec 2005, 12:03   #10
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Default Re: Got a problem?

Perhaps that is a common psychological thing to fret about - hating the thought of being left out of some fun or a good discussion happening somewhere.
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