The Internet is something that should be enjoyed, like most things, in moderation.
But for some of us, that’s not possible because our jobs depend on massive amounts of time online. And for others, tempered Internet use isn’t possible because of a very real disorder: Internet Use Disorder (bearing the unfortunate acronym IUD).
“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.”
People who are addicted to the Internet have brain functions similar to that of people who are addicted to cocaine, heroin, and other illicit drugs, according to the article.
Other, less scientific studies have highlighted smartphone addiction. One such study
said 15 percent of people would rather spend a weekend without sex than part ways with their smartphones on Saturday and Sunday.
As for treatment for Internet addiction, it’s not exactly as simple as taking away someone’s Wi-Fi. Cognitive behavior therapy has been show to work. But the message from the DSM-V is clear: stop spending so much time on the Internet. Go outside. Touch a tree.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have three email accounts to check.