New Scientist reports:
The US could be rife with "internet addicts" who are as clinically ill as alcoholics, according to psychiatrists involved in a nationwide study.
The study, carried out by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, US, indicates that more than one in eight US residents show signs of "problematic internet use".
The Stanford researchers interviewed 2513 adults in a nationwide survey. Because internet addiction is not a clinically defined medical condition, the questions used were based on analysis of other addiction disorders.
Most disturbing, according to the study’s lead author Elias Aboujaoude, is the discovery that some people hide their internet surfing, or go online to cure foul moods – behaviour that mirrors the way alcoholics behave.
"In a sense, they’re using the internet to self-medicate," Aboujaoude says. "And, obviously, something is wrong when people go out of their way to hide their internet activity."
This passage is most disturbing to me:
Previous research suggests that the majority of "internet addicts" are single, college-educated, white males in their 30s, who spend approximately 30 hours a week on non-essential computer use.
I suppose that could be me, but I’m not sure what non-essential and essential use is. Much Internet use is simply reading and exploring; is reading an addictive behavior? Full story here.