Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Is Social Network Addiction A New Clinical Disorder?

Internet addiction disorder has been officially added to Wikipedia.
The resource website defines it as Internet overuse, pathological computer use, or problematic use of the computer that interferes with daily life.
Although Internet addiction disorder is not officially included in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called disorder shows signs of similarities with pathological gambling disorder, which is included in the manual.
The new version of the manual is set to come out in 2013, and debates as to whether IAD should be included are in full swing.
Psychologists say, however, that whether IAD should be classified as a psychological disorder is an issue that requires further research.
Many experts, however, support the said classification.
According to the director of the Computer Addiction Study Center at McLean Hospital in Harvard University, between 5 to 10 percent of web users are, in one way or another, dependent on the web.
A study conducted by the Center for Internet Behavior and ABCNews.
com in 1999 also showed that some Internet services have unique psychological properties that can have a significant impact on the lives of individuals.
These factors include time distortion, dissociation, and instant gratification.
These therefore lead to compulsive actions.
Another strong supporter of the IAD classification is the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery.
The Center says that Internet addicts tend to suffer from emotional problems such as anxiety and depression, and often use the Internet to escape their stressful situations, which further aggravates the problem.
The Center cited studies that showed how 60% of people being treated for Internet addiction say that they were involved with online sexual activities or conversations and that more than half of them are also being treated for alcohol or drug addiction.
Another study conducted in 2009 also suggests that those who were addicted to the Internet showed some signs of structural changes in the brain - changes that were also present in those who are chemically addicted.
Another study specified what the changes were.
They included reduced sizes of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, rostral anterior cingulate cortex, supplementary motor area, and about 10 to 20 percent of the cerebellum.
Theories show that these changes are linked to impaired short-term memory and decision-making abilities.
And once such abilities are impaired, the resulting problems lead people to want to stay online rather than be involved in the real world.
There seems to be striking evidence that excessive use of the Internet can negatively affect a person's mental health.
Despite the fact that Internet addiction disorder is not yet part of the manual of psychological disorders, parents and Internet users should be warned of these negative effects.

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