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March 21, 2008

Is excessive texting and internet use a mental disorder?


by Alan Harten
Is excessive texting and internet use a mental disorder?

People who excessively game and who cannot control their email/text messaging should be included in psychiatry’s official guidebook of psychiatric disorders, this according to American Journal of Psychiatry.

In an article in this month’s edition of the highly respected scientific journal, Dr Jerald J Block, outlines what he considers to be four distinct symptoms shown by sufferers.

When sufferers cannot reach their computer, they experience withdrawal and an associated sense of depression or anger. Many sufferers have a constant craving for new and better equipment, suffer a feeling of social isolation and fatigue when not sat at their computers. Dr Block states, “Attempts to measure the phenomenon are clouded by shame, denial and minimisation,”

Dr Block also said that these conditions can be difficult to treat, especially an addiction to the Internet, because he claims that sufferers are, “resistant to treatment, which entails significant risks and has high relapse rates”.

Internet addiction in the Asian country of South Korea is at its most severe, and the government believes it is one of the countries “most serious public health issues”. Official government statistics, from 2006 estimate that around 200,000 children in the country are afflicted, Dr Block said.

The Situation is so serious that the country has set up over one hundred and forty ‘tough love’ rehabilitation clinics. This is in an effort to curb what officials see as a mushrooming Internet addiction amongst teenagers.


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