There is a new mental health condition on the block - and its addictive. The ensuing controversy stems from the freshly revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V). Internet addiction, or formally, Internet Use Disorder (IUD), may soon be included as an actual mental health disorder, more clinical study is needed to determine for sure. So what are the symptoms of Internet Addiction, but more importantly, what’s the treatment?
Internet Addiction has many of the basic prerequisites of any other addiction. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the crafters of the DSM-V, a person with Internet Addiction will experience “preoccupation”, withdrawal symptoms, increased tolerance, loss of other interests, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and frequent mood changes.
There’s been more and more scientific research devoted to understanding what Internet Addiction is, how it works neurologically, and how we can treat it. Recent research has concluded that people with Internet addiction have demonstrable changes in their brains – both in the connections between cells and in the brain areas that control attention, executive control, and emotion processing. The most provocative element of this research is that these brain changes are similar to the changes that occur when someone becomes dependent on a highly addictive drug, such as heroin, cocaine, special K, or methamphetamine.
If we accept that internet addiction or IUD is a legitimate mental health disorder, then what? How bad does it have to get before you get treatment, and for that matter, what is the treatment?
How to treat internet addiction is the obvious next question. The most complex part of treatment is that for a super majority of the population, leaving the Internet is simply not an option. In this way, it’s a bit like food addiction - which has been argued is the hardest to effectively treat, since you can not give up food, you have to actually learn how to manage it. Creating and cultivating the personality characteristic of will power, for many people, is significantly harder than quitting.
Treatment centers around the country are beginning to deal with this addiction, and apply cutting edge techniques to battle this issue. AddictionRecovery.com is your International information source on addiction issues and treatments. Stay up to date by following us on Facebook and Twitter.