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Internet Addicts As Ill As Alcoholics?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-can-stop-whenever-i-want dept.

260

suntac writes to mention an article on New Scientist, reporting on a Stanford study of internet addiction. The study finds that the U.S. is 'rife' with internet addicts, who may be as addicted as alcoholics to their sweet sweet net connection. From the article: "Nearly 14% of respondents said they found it difficult to stay away from the internet for several days and 12% admitted that they often remain online longer than expected. More than 8% of those surveyed said they hid internet use from family, friends and employers, and the same percentage confessed to going online to flee from real-world problems. Approximately 6% also said their personal relationships had suffered as a result of excessive internet usage. 'Potential markers of problematic internet use are present in a sizeable portion of the population,' the researchers note." While obviously allowing relationships to suffer so you can surf eBay is a problem, where is the line between relying on the internet for news and information and addiction?

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260 comments

addicted? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507119)

i sure hope i'm first post!

RE:First post (0, Offtopic)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507283)

You got the first post, now don't you wish you posted something more profound? :-)

Re:First post (0, Offtopic)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507573)

you miss the point.

You're typical first post addict is so concerned with getting there that all they have time for is the short 'first post' sentance, or even just 'fp' before the need for a cigarette and a kleenex kicks in....

Re:First post (0, Offtopic)

Cyclometh (629276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507705)

I remember once, back in the dim and misty, I wrote a post that happened to be the first, but wasn't a "first post". There was a lot of astonishment that the first post contained actual content. I've been away for awhile but I note that the "first post" dreck seems to have been somewhat modulated.

Re:addicted? (1)

jedimastermopar (1015773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16508021)

I find it funny and coincidental perhaps that a first poster got the first post to an internet addiction thread. I wounder how many "\. first posters" are considered addicted just by the ammount of time they spend refreshing the \. web page

First Post! (-1, Redundant)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507125)

I don't have an addiction to the Internet... I have an addiction to first posts. =P

Re:First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507259)

looks like your going to have to rehab, because you only achived 2nd.. FAIL

Please type in the word in this image: boners (why is slashdot making me type boners?)

Re:First Post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507715)

I don't have an addiction. I can stop whenever I want. I just don't want to stop.

Where's the line? (3, Funny)

Cyclometh (629276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507127)

Somewhere a few miles behind me, I'd wager.

Re:Where's the line? (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507201)

> Somewhere a few miles behind me, I'd wager.

This is Slashdot. We're so far beyond the line we couldn't find the line even with very long baseline interferometry.

Re:Where's the line? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507453)

Would everybody quit adding new material so I can get back to work?

Re:Where's the line? (1)

pdxmac (460696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16508017)

Exactly.

I've found that I can get more work done by obsessively checking for new stories constantly. That way, there aren't too many comments for any one story...

The meta-article: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507129)

The psychiatric community could be rife with "excuse 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 shrinks show signs of "problematic blame shifting".
The Stanford researchers interviewed X shrinks in a nationwide survey. Because excuse addiction is not a clinically defined medical condition, the questions used were based on analysis of other blame-oriented disorders.
Most disturbing, according to the study's lead author Elmo Thorkmorton, is the discovery that some shrinks hide their blame-gaming, or go online to cure foul moods - behaviour that mirrors the way alcoholics behave.
"In a sense, they're using the blame to self-medicate," Thorkmorton says. "And, obviously, something is wrong when people go out of their way to hide their blamesmanship."

Re:The meta-article: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507441)

"Funny"? Who could possibly mod this insensitive disgrace of a post "Funny"?
Some poor shrink's self-esteem could be besmirched!
Rush Limbaugh, is that you? We'll cut off your pills, you red-state bait!

only 6% ? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507131)

only 6% said their personal relationships had suffered as a result of excessive internet usage? I am surprised it is not much, MUCH higher. I know it certainly is in my circle of friends and people I know.

internet addict, or workaholic? (4, Interesting)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507613)

only 6% said their personal relationships had suffered as a result of excessive internet usage?

So if internet-related tasks are part of your job, what's the difference between being an "internet addict" and a workaholic?

I dunno, but.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507139)

I don't think I've ever hit a light pole after surfing the web for 4 hours straight.

BTW, if you're running a fever or have a very bad head-cold, you're about as impaired as if you had a few good belts in you.

"Comparable" my ass (4, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507475)

Someone close to me is an alcoholic, and now that their sober, probably spends as much time on the web as they did drinking.

Substitute the Internet for alcohol? Probably.

Internet as damaging as alcohol? Are the effin nuts?

There's addiction, and then there's addiction. The medical establishment trying to make all addictions equally bad is a ploy to scare up more patients.

Re:"Comparable" my ass (2, Funny)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507569)

I don't know about you, but this damn internet is just ruining my liver!

Jaysyn

Re:"Comparable" my ass (2, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507787)

And it made me crash my car last week!

(As I reconsider my practice of checking email on my Treo at highway speeds...)

Re:I dunno, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507747)

BTW, if you're running a fever or have a very bad head-cold, you're about as impaired as if you had a few good belts in you.

Good to know you're the asshole who not only thinks there's a good excuse for drinking and driving, but feels the onerous, egoist need to actually tell other idiots. Fuck you, buddy. Whoops. Sorry, I take that back. I shouldn't have said 'buddy'.

Fuck you.

May you (or anybody you've influenced) kill your kids (and potential kids) when you or they are driving around drunk.

Idiot.

Never seen before, apparently (4, Funny)

also-rr (980579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507141)

While obviously allowing relationships to suffer so you can surf eBay is a problem, where is the line between relying on the internet for news and information and addiction?

My grandfather attributes his 60 year long marriage to spending all evening when he got home from work (and in his retirement, all day) hiding behind a newspaper smoking a pipe.

At least these days your wife can IM you to grab your attention when it's time for dinner.... oh, hang on, it's time for dinner. Catch you all later!

Re:Never seen before, apparently (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507741)

My grandfather attributes his 60 year long marriage to spending all evening when he got home from work (and in his retirement, all day) hiding behind a newspaper smoking a pipe.

Gramps neglected to tell you that wasn't tobacco in that pipe...

Re:Never seen before, apparently (4, Insightful)

Cyclometh (629276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507853)

Maybe he could attribute his marriage's longevity to marrying a woman willing to tolerate someone who spends all his time hiding behind a newspaper smoking a pipe. ;)

Except that (1)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507151)

You don't put an "internet addict"'s life in danger by making him quit cold turkey.

Re:Except that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507413)

but you might put your own life in danger...

Sick as a parrot, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507165)

I'm barely able to step away from the tubing for up to 12 or 14 hours a day. Somebody get me a doctor.

Re:Sick as a parrot, then (1)

Arwing (951573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16508051)

I believe the best sign of an addiction is what happens when you remove something from the addicted. Now, can you imagine if someday the 'Internet' goes down? I don't mean that I can't surf at home, I mean when I am at work, I can't communicate with my co-workers via e-mail, I can't access web applications and online data, etc etc.

We, as a society, is addicted to Internet as we are addicted to foreign oil and electricity (and I don't mean the same way Bender was addicted to electricity).

III? (4, Funny)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507195)

Internet Addicts As 3 As Alcoholics?

Methinks I need a new font.

Re:III? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507653)

Yeah, it took a couple seconds of staring at that before I knew what it was.

Can we get some serifs here?

Oh teh Noes! (4, Funny)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507199)

So what if you're an alcoholic and internet addicted? Does that mean you have like 12% less freinds? I'm not asking for myself personally, but I have this friend...

And what percentage.... (1)

Dimes (10216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507203)

were Hypocondriacs? 14% and Delusional? 12% and Paranoid? 8%

Stupid effing poll drumming up stupid numbers.

And how many were addicted to over eating? 14% and drinking too much some times? 14% and blah blah blah.....

Statistically people are addicts to anything. Smoking, eating, coffee, soda, sugar. Why the hell is this news?

I am pretty sure within 10 years all those jokes about lawyers will be retrofitted to the media.

What do you call 10,000 attention whore media people at the bottom of the ocean?

dimes

Re:And what percentage.... (2, Funny)

another_fanboy (987962) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507739)

Maybe the researchers are addicted to researching addictions. Someone should research the researchers' addictions to researching addictions.....

No such thing as... (3, Interesting)

twifosp (532320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507223)

I'm getting pretty sick of all the "Addicted to [insert something here]" articles on Slashdot. As far as I'm concerned they are all dupes of some type or another.

NEWSFLASH TO STORY SUBMITTERS AND EDITORS:

There is no such thing as addicted to the internet, or a video game, or anything except for a chemically addictive substance. There are only addicts. These people have an addictive personality and will be addicted to anything to pass the time. There are no addictions, just addicts. Unless it has something to do with a chemically addictive substance, please stop posting these inane flame bait articles.

I have an idea for a Slashdot post: Slashdot Submitters & Editors Addicted to Posting Pseudo Addiction Stories

If you're not willing to suck ... (2, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507817)

If you're not willing to suck cock for money to support your addiction, you aren't addicted.

Anything can be "found" to be "addicting" if you phrase the questions correctly. But instead of "avoiding" other situations or spending time on your "addiction", they need to focus on the actions that an addict will be willing to perform to feed their addiction.

Criteria? (2, Informative)

Ashyukun (551101) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507243)

and 12% admitted that they often remain online longer than expected

That would mean that I might be addicted to showers, sleep, and my morning commute (when I have to drive). Not to mention that finding it difficult to avoid the internet for more than a few days is kind of silly when so many of us have to use it at work. Not that I don't think it's possible to be addicted to the internet- but some of what they're apparently basing it on seems kind of silly.

Addictive personality (2, Interesting)

aron1231 (895831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507245)

This concept was brought up in the WoW addiction discussion, but my belief is that anyone can be addicted to anything they find enjoyable. Same holds true for the internet. Addiction is marked by it's damage-causing nature. Sure, if your girlfriend breaks up with you because of your internet use, you could be considered an adict. If you control your usage of the internet and it does't interfere with the rest of your life then it isn't an issue. Addiction isn't an object, it's a state of being.

Re:Addictive personality (2, Funny)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507937)

Sure, if your girlfriend breaks up with you because of your internet use, you could be considered an adict.

Or maybe she's just a beotch who doesn't understand being l33t, hax0ring and quality pr0n.

Food Addiction (5, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507251)

Nearly 14% of respondents said they found it difficult to stay away from food for several days and 12% admitted that they often eat more than expected. More than 8% of those surveyed said they hid snacks from family, friends and employers, and the same percentage confessed to eating to forget real-world problems. Approximately 6% also said their personal relationships had suffered as a result of excessive weight gain. 'Potential markers of problematic eating are present in a sizeable portion of the population,' the researchers note.

worse problems (4, Funny)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507767)

In a recent survey 100% of respondents said they felt they couldn't enjoy life without breathing at least some oxygen every day. Cheap and widely available, but dangerously chemically reactive, oxygen is a substance known to produce a pleasant feeling of euphoria in the brain and a sense of 'energy' in the body when inhaled. However, users experience severely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when use is terminated.

Over 80% of survey respondents also reported a psychological and almost physical need to 'do' more of the substance when under stress. Nearly all respondents expressed great anger at and rejected any suggestion that they consider quitting or cutting back on their use, and some threatened to become physically violent if any attempt was made to reduce their access.

I know my roman numerals (1)

iknowrobocop (934493) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507267)

Come on guys, just pick whether you want your toddler to be addicted to booze OR the internet, you don't want him to peak too soon.

misreading (0, Offtopic)

cabinetsoft (923481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507271)

Internet Addicts As Ill As Alcoholics?
I just red that that as "Internet Addicts As FREE As Alcoholics?" ... Ill -> III -> 3 -> Three -> Free

Internet and Beer (1)

gwar11d2 (702724) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507291)

I think the problem with my internet addiction is due to the fact that I'm drunk when I'm on the internet and can't stop buying things like 'the blessed virgin mary toast' or other object that I must have while drunk. Mmmmm sweet internet and beer.

The economy, eh? (1)

Kaioshin (893295) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507301)

Wonderful. Now I can't claim I have no addictions anymore. Next, they'll try to force me to learn how to live without it.

On another note, I have to protest to their use of "non-essential computer use". How many things now-a-days are actually, truly essential? I bet they are only mentioning this because, as Elias Aboujaoude said in the article: "The issue is starting to be recognised as a legitimate object of clinical attention, as well as an economic problem, given that a great deal of non-essential internet use takes place at work". (Emphasis mine)

Television Addicts (4, Interesting)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507303)

So where are the reports for people who can't do without the Tee Vee?

Oh wait, right here [sciam.com].

Could it be that people are addicted to inactivity itself? I dunno, just a thought. Are there book addicts? If so, is it regarded as a problem?

IDIOTS (1)

tsunamiiii (975673) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507317)

Why do people pay attention to these "studies". Usualy the science is very lose and when something sounds stupid it usualy is. Kids shouldnt play Tag, Stupid. Kids are to fat now and we cant figure out why, see stupid assumption #1. Remember: There are liars, damn liars and staticians...

Word capitalization... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507321)

Am I the only one who read the world "ill" in the article's title as "III"? What's with word capitalization? If the title is a sentence, it should use sentence capitalization (i.e., "Internet addicts as ill as alcoholics?"). Word capitalization is great for slogans, but doesn't really make sense in this context.

Re:Word capitalization... (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507993)

What's wrong with your font that you can't see the difference between "I" and "l"? Just as bad is the one that makes "1" and "l" the same. Isn't a font's primary purpose to describe recognizable glyphs?

Finally some recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507341)

Being an internet addict is definitely tha illest.

Zonk is an addict ;) (2)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507371)

Since this information could lead to slashdotters realising they have a problem, getting help, and not patronising this site as much, he's decrasing shareholder value through loss of pageviews with this article!

Zonk, we care, you can get better!

Internet == TV? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507385)

I would argue that Internet abuse will happen, as much as it happens to alcohol/gambling/name-your-addiction.

I wonder why the same behaviors are rarely, if ever, studied for television viewing?

Re:Internet == TV? (2, Insightful)

skelly33 (891182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507689)

This sounds exactly like that you used to hear "them" saying about T.V. to me. My guess is that anyone who has the perpensity for escapism is going to find themselves a solution no matter what the activity...

I have problems (1)

prelelat (201821) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507391)

I always want to get more time on the internet, I always get suckered away from my family and friends. I have to tell them its me time and we needs the porn. I wish I wasn't joking.

Still... (1)

theazreal (1015759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507407)

People who read or study to take a little bit of stress out of their lives aren't considered addicted or obsessive. Why should those who do the same thing on the Internet be considered ill? There's a similar perceived divide between people who spend a lot of time socializing and those who do the same over the 'Net or by phone. I don't know what people don't do because they feel they have to or to self medicate. People often do things to change their mental states--After all, who doesn't like to have fun? While I'm sure there are people that use the Internet in a way that negatively effects their social life, I think just as many and more use it to enhance their lives in a positive way. People are just making a big deal out the way technology changes their lives.

addicted to the internet or to making money? (1)

NynexNinja (379583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507421)

I'm sure a large number of people use the internet primarly as a tool to generate income and wealth... If the length of time one spends on the internet is equal to the amount of money that one makes, it makes sense for these money-oriented people to spend as much time as they can on the internet, working. I wouldn't call that an addiction to the internet, I would call it an addiction to money. Is being addicted to making money a psychological disorder? Maybe to the "money isnt everything" crowd, but not me.

Re:addicted to the internet or to making money? (1)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16508085)

The big thing, to me, is that an internet "addiction" isn't passive. You have to interact with stuff on the internet to get what you want. You have to choose which sites to read, which videos to watch, which stuff to respond to or supply with your own thoughts.

None of that exists with television, where you simply sit down and turn it on. Heck, even watching a TV show on DVD is better than watching broadcast TV, as you choose to put it in and how long you wish you watch. Similarly, many other addictions get to the addiction phase once they lapse into a passive state -- where people take drugs out of necessity, rather than any pleasure, or when they sit and gamble because it allows them to turn their brain off. There's no interaction at that stage -- it's a way for people to "shut off."

While that can happen on the internet, it seems like you'd have to seek out certain sites in order to do so -- video heavy sites, IRC channels, etc. Even then, they involve some level of interaction, and the reason most people get involved in the internet is because they contribute. In fact, the more someone contributes, the more "stuck" and involved, "addicted" they become. But is that an addiction? Mmmm, maybe on a purely psychological level. But then it comes down to what types of addiction are bad.

Title (0, Redundant)

ezzewezza (84083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507437)

Wow did it take me a while realize that the title says

"Internet addicts as ill [as in sick] as alcoholics?"

and not

"Internet addict as iii [as in 3] as alcoholics?"

What's wrong non-essential Internet use? (5, Insightful)

rickkas7 (983760) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507491)

The article seems to say that non-essential Internet use is bad.

My goal is to spend as much time as possible doing non-essential things. It's called relaxing, and is a fine alternative to working.

Excuses excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507493)

Everyone's busy looking for an excuse instead of just sucking it up and accepting the responsiblity of their own failures.

Statistics... (1)

arotondo (1004217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507501)

More than 8% of those surveyed said they hid internet use from family, friends and employers...

The other 92% have already been caught with pr0n.

|||? 3? Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507503)

What the hell does the headline mean?

Is this some sort of allusion to the DSM III? It's been replaced by the DSM IV for years now . . .

Moo (5, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507509)

Is it an addiction, or is it where people want to be?

Alcohol has a similar case. Some people are addicted, in that a lack of alcohol, and the body wants more and more of it. Other people simple enjoy the stupor and dullness to the pains of life. While both cases may have a physical addiction, addressing these cases are different. The first is more physical, the second psycological.

Internet addiction can also be broken up similarly. Some addiction are activities that the Internet allow for. Buying things, purient interests, gambling, or rather, actions that can be done in the real world--and indeed are--but the Internet makes it easier. These people are not addicted to the Internet. They are addicted to activities, and the Internet just made it easier, convenient, or maybe just plain possible.

However, there is a second form of Internet addiction. That is gaming (as in WoW), socializing, garnering information, blogging, etc.. The main point here is not always the activities, rather it is created a second world, perhaps even a form of Avoidance Behavior. (This can be broken down further as to whether Internet usage is the cause or the affect.)

Even then, Extraverts who spend their time on the Internet probably have a problem. Introvets, not as much. They like being alone, and grow by being alone. Excessive Internet usage may be one-sidedness, not an addiction.

Overall, usage of the Internet is not an indicator of addiction. Personality and intent are. And even then, i would wonder what the real dangers were.

Everyone is addicted to somthing (2, Insightful)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507511)

The real question is simple and not answered. Is the addiction detrimental to ones life, health, etc.

You can easily get addicted to anything that you enjoy, from Pot to Sex it is all addicting. There is no real story here.

Just don't let your addictions rule your life and you will be fine :)

uh oh (1)

b-l4ke (997876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507533)

"where is the line between relying on the internet for news and information and addiction?" For me, it's waaaay back there

Misleading as usual (2, Insightful)

tringstad (168599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507545)

Why must an addiction to content be seen as an addiction to the medium by which that content is conveyed?

In the 80s, when 900 numbers were at their peak, and you regulary heard and saw reports of people being addicted to paying for phone sex, they never called it "telephone addiction".

I find it really hard to believe that "More than 8% of those surveyed said they hid internet use from family, friends and employers" actually applies to using the internet, but is much more likely that they are hiding what they are using the internet for (porn, video games, downloading music, etc.)

It is this fundamental misunderstanding of the internet as being content rather than the means by which content is conveyed that seems to be the main source of all this mislead reporting and "research".

Worse, it is causing a lot of misdiagnosis of people with real and obvious problems, which is in turn preventing them from getting proper help.

-Tommy

No fine line (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507565)

While obviously allowing relationships to suffer so you can surf eBay is a problem, where is the line between relying on the internet for news and information and addiction?

There isn't a fine line - there's a 10 foot high wall, clearly marked with Day-Glo orange stripes and strobe lights.

The Line (4, Insightful)

umbrellasd (876984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507567)

Where your bank account goes from black to red.

Here's a different scenario. Over 90% of the adult population is addicted to work. Why? They do it every day. They have to do it every day. If they don't do it every day, it becomes a problem. Questions are asked, finances are in jeopardy, relationships are endangered.

Kinda fucked up, isn't it? Why isn't work an "addiction"? It keeps the bank account in the black and the population as a whole in a constrained environment with significantly limited freedoms (by narrowly defining what you can do and requiring you to invest most of your time and energy in it). But you just watch people come unglued if they unplug from work. Yep.

There's your line.

And for those of you who have multiple 'problems' (1)

Rixel (131146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507591)

1. Move the fridge next to the computer.
2. Stock frige with ample liquidy goodness.
3. Play WoW drunk for days.

Three addictions, no waiting! What problem?

Advanced hint: Keep a couple of empty bottles around for the inevitable!

Addiction is Addiction is Addiction (1)

Spirckle (872312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507603)

The problems of addiction is always with the addict rather than with the substance. Addictive personalities can obsess with the wierdest things. It's what happens in their brains which makes them want to repeat behaviours to their own detriment. Yeah, because the web is otherwise immediate and gratifying you will have addicted personalities become addicted to it to a point where it becomes a problem.

If you are merely using it to stay on top of your job or your interests and know when to put it aside, then you probably are not addicted to it and shouldn't have to worry. If you are an addictive personality (and you know who you are) see your doctor or a psych counselor about it; there are drugs that maybe can dampen the obsessive urges.

Vice != Addiction (5, Informative)

faqmaster (172770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507623)

I get tired of every bad habit or vice being called an addiction. If you've ever experienced a true addiction involving a chemical with a biological component you understand the difference between an addiction and a bad habit.

You might feel uncomfortable when you try to change a bad habit. You might even fail to change it, deciding instead it's easier to indulge your vice than to change.

An addiction is a totally different animal. When you kick heroin or cocaine or alcohol you become physically sick. Not just emotionally uncomfortable, but physically ill: sweats, vomiting, dizziness, blood pressure fluctuations, etc, etc. When you are addicted you are physically compelled to seek out your chemical. Every waking moment is dedicated to procuring your next fix. You look for it like you look for your next breath. It's hard to convey, but try to imagine giving up breathing.

All your willpower to quit and all your effort to clean up can be at your disposal, you tell yourself, "No, not ever again," even as you reach for the needle. You weep as you consciously choose a chemical over family, job, home, self-respect, everything.

Yeah, if I try to give up coffee I might be uncomfortable for a few days. If I stop playing video games I might miss it for a while. But I won't throw up and have cold sweats for three days. Video games and internet and such can't be addictions, not without some serious pre-existing personality disorder.

Based on this study ... other addictions (4, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507663)

"Nearly 14% of respondents said they found it difficult to stay away from the internet for several days"

Based on this same logic, we'd almost all be addicted to: driving, eating, refrigerators, using the toilet, showering, sleeping, and drinking. Sounds like we have a national epidemic brewing. If we can't figure out a way to get the 95% of the people who can't use the toilet for more than a few days outside doing something more productive, we may fall behind the rest of the industrialized world in technological and sociological accomplishments.

OK, on a more serious note, I think the article fails to drill down to the heart of the addiction - porn and games. The 6% of respondants who said the internet ruins their relationships are likely staring at photoshop enhanced boobies or playing WOW for 16 hours a day ... not clicking refresh every 5 minutes on the CNN homepage (although I'm sure those people exist too). I don't feel like the internet itself is an addiction, but rather a easy medium for addicts to gain access to their vice.

Stats (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507679)

What a blatant misuse of statistics. I swear stat abuse is the lifeblood of media now adays.

That internet is an evil place!

Ten bucks says these people that are hiding the internet use from friends, family, and co-workers are also porn addicts. It isnt the internet it is the person feeding an addiction aside from the internet, if the net wasnt there they would just find different avenues.

The people who have a hard time being away from the internet for more than a few days arent surfing, they are probably admins or stock brokers that have accounts and systems depending on them.

seriously this article is sickening.

In Other News (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507711)

the existence of Nerds, Geeks, and Dorks was confirmed by a new study on internet addiction.

Seriously though, the internet is something it is mostly self destructive, not like alcoholism, and once you are able to step away, you are fine. I have had my periods of time where I spent 16 hours a day on the computer, but then I went outside and all was well. Many of these people are socially inept people who have a social life online - so what, better than the alternative of TV or becoming some weird freak who cruises the street with face paint on.

Wow! (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507713)

Those statistics are incredible low. I was thinking that perhaps, there might be a problem. Then I read through their stats and have to think - "Wow! Guess it's just not anything close to a big deal. Good!" Yay! Good news for once.

On the other hand. (1)

ahfoo (223186) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507743)

Some people's famlies depend on them to make damn sure the internet is working day in and day out and they get in deep shit whenever something goes wrong with it. Indeed, I met my wife by helping her connect her modem to the internet years ago and to this day one of the only thing that drags my out of bed early is when the freakin' connection goes down.
        This real world situation hardly fits into the scenario they were trying to paint with this "study".

Actual Alcoholic (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507811)

Seriously, alcoholism is a disease. A physical dependency and a psychological obsession with drinking or "the first drink" or "the thought that he may one day be able to drink like a normal person". People fucking die from it, from that thought, that obsession.

No one dies (well, maybe that gamer in Hong Kong is an exception) from checking their email or playing too much World of Warcraft.

As a person with a serious problem with drinking, who is in AA (hense Anonymous Coward), the idea that someone using the internet too much is the same as the life threatening condition of being an alcoholic is insulting.

On the other hand, the 12 Steps can be used for any form of addiction. Gamblers use them, Cocaine addicts use them, Sexaholics use them. Why don't a few of these persons who are powerless over the internet try using the Steps (go to Barnes and Nobles, read the Twelve and Twelve) and see if it works? Why not report back to the group. Does /. have a mailing addess to send replies to?

The demon coffee (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507815)

"Do not use intoxicants. Even beware of coffee. [google.com] It is one of the most powerful nerve and brain stimulants. The coffee habit is as easily formed, and as remorseless, as the alcohol habit. After a while, if excessively used, it produces its sure result; your faculties have been sharpened by this intellectual emery-wheel until the edges begin to crumble. Your mind becomes dull..."

--Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, 1905, "The Young Man and the World"

The rule is very simple. Any pleasurable things I don't do are dangerous addictions.

It's not the internet, it's lumines (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507835)

I can't say I have an addiction to the 'Net, but I'll admit a kind of strange addiction to Lumines(PSP). Once I get a game going, if you don't have anything to do with colored blocks falling to a musical rhythm, then I won't pay attention to you. My wife claims to have flashed her boobs at me while I was playing, and I didn't notice. :-)

My thoughts on addiction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16507945)

When you have to read various commentary on an article and crtique of said article on the internet, and then provide your own comment on the article and critiques to a web site so everyone knows what your stance is...

That could possibly constitute an addiction...

Oh...

Well, it's a fair cop.

Addicted (1)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507959)

I'm currently posting from work. I got in trouble for surfing the net earlier this year. I stopped for a while, but I can't seem to stop now. Every day I say that I'm not going to surf. I come to work, finish my work, and then surf. It's not really effecting my productivity other than I could be doing MORE stuff than what is required of me. I am a bit afraid that I'll get in trouble again. But I doubt that my issue is nearly as destructive as alcoholism. My father is an alcoholic and my brother is a gambling addict. I suffer from bipolar disorder. All of these cause more severe problems. The real issue is with addictive personalities, addictive behavior in general. That's what gets people in trouble. It doesn't matter what you are addicted to, too much of anything is bad for you, even sex. My main problem is that my job is boring, and too easy for me. Not much critical thinking involved. Idle hands are the devil's playthings and all that. Anyway, if I get fired, it won't be because of internet addiction, but because of slacking off. Bleh, I'll stop rambling.

I guess we are addicted to all sorts of things (2, Interesting)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 7 years ago | (#16507989)

Lets see other things most people find it hard to avoid for days.

Checking Mail

Paying Bills

Doing their jobs

Keeping up with their Childrens school work

Watching the News and/or Weather reports

Shopping

Just add the word online to the above and suddeny they become an addication.

Fi8st (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16508005)

much organisation, a fact: FreeBSD move any equipment Profqits without truth, for all

Internet III (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16508023)

There's already an Internet III? I haven't even figured out the Web 2.0 yet!

alcoholism != disease (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16508047)

considering alcoholism is not an illness to being with...

kinda hard to compare apples to oranges when the oranges think they are bananas

Silly people. (1)

Matilda the Hun (861460) | more than 7 years ago | (#16508079)

The problem here is the fact that the internet is used for a multitude of things. One can say people are using the internet too much, but for a lot of people it's taken the place of reading books/reading the news/watching tv/talking on the phone/playing video games/listening to music/etc. That doesn't mean it's healthy to be sitting in front of a computer for X hours at a time, but no less healthy than sitting at home for those same X hours reading a book/watching tv/...you get the idea.
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