Jul 28, 2014

Do you think that internet addiction is a real addiction?

There is an HBO documentary called Love Child that I’ve got on my “to see” list. It’s pretty tragic; basically two people who are “internet addicts” meet, have a baby, then the baby dies because they ignore it to play online games. The thing I have trouble accepting is that there is such a thing as internet addiction. I've stayed up all night before playing games, but it was because I wanted to, not because I had to...thanks Mass Effect. To me, it sounds similar to Tiger Woods being busted with non-spousal girlfriends, then blaming it on an addiction. Yeah, if you like to do something, then you are motivated to do it more, whether it’s playing a game or spending time with the non-spouse. I just don’t see that as the same thing as an actual addiction, where the body becomes dependent on a physical substance like opiates. That is verifiable and supported by physical science, whereas an internet addiction is more like an example of poor impulse control in my book. In other words, it’s an excuse for weak character. Am I off base here? Is internet addiction real?


I agree that there is a difference is substance dependency and behavioral “addiction.” However, I’m not sure that I agree that the divide is quite as rigid as you make it sound. Some behaviors can cause verifiable chemical changes in the brain, and the effect is not all that different that taking a drug.


I think it is fair to compare internet addiction with gambling, especially when you are talking about online gaming. The consensus view through the early 80s was to look at uncontrolled gambling as a compulsion or impulse control disorder rather than an addiction. This has changed, and starting with DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), compulsive gambling is classified as an addiction. This change didn’t happen overnight, and reflects serious academic research and debate. 


The same chemical, dopamine, is released into the brain during gambling (or online gaming, one would presume) as is released when taking drugs like amphetamines or cocaine. Dopamine pushes pretty much all of the human “pleasure buttons” so that someone addicted to a behavior experiences nearly the same “high” as someone using those drugs. When another dopamine rush is only one bet or Zerg Rush away, that is a powerful incentive to have another go. At that point, how different is a gaming addiction different from a drug addiction? It’s really only the matter of achieving the high that is different. 


Now when you are talking about just surfing the web, I’m not so sure that I would call that an addiction. There isn’t an obvious stimulant that would cause dopamine to be released by just reading an article or looking at kitty photos. In that case, my off the cuff reaction would be to look at that as poor impulse control because it’s more fun to look at teh kitteh than it is to get your work done. There could be an underlying factor at work though, such as ADD or ADHD.




If you are using or woking as professionally than it will be not addiction. But if you are using it for chating and dating, gaming or other these kinds of activity. people or user can't live one day using internet for doing these activity, actually they are adicted.

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