Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Internet Addiction and Treatment

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about internet addiction and treatment. The Chicago Tribune posted an article this morning about reSTART, an internet addiction treatment center in Seattle. The website talks about different signs and symptoms associated with internet addiction, such as neglecting friends and family, obsessing over the computer and internet, and failed attempts to control behavior. Although internet addiction isn't classified in the DSM as of yet, there are well-chronicled tales of people with addiction to games such as World of Warcraft. In Chicago, Linda Lewaniak, director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, said that while research on the subject is scant, "we've had steady growth in this area. We're now seeing enough people to have its own group."

So what's the deal? Are people TRULY addicted to the internet? I think when we start to see consequences such as lack of social activity, lowered productivity in the workplace, and feelings of craving for the internet, we may actually have a real problem on our hands. I'm glad to see someone addressing this; Dr. Hilary Cash, the executive director at reSTART, has been doing research in this field for years, and sees a huge developing problem among our youth. She has helped lead the research and bringing about a 12-step program for internet gaming addicts. This will be an interesting field moving forward; I'm interested to see where this leads, as we're just at the beginning stages of research- and at the problem.

From the Tribune article:
At Rush University Medical Center, which also treats patients at its Center for Compulsive Behavior and Addiction, Dr. Louis Kraus said it's important to recognize that these activities are often intertwined with other underlying issues, such as depression and social anxiety.

"It's great that people are looking at this and the impact it's having," the child psychiatrist said, "but we still don't have clear scientific basis for what kind of treatment approach will offer the best outcome."

In other news, Pfizer, the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company, was recently slapped with a $2.3 billion fine for falsely advertising and marketing drugs for purposes they weren't intended for. They were slapped with the fine following a guilty plea towards one felony count to settle federal criminal and civil charges that it illegally promoted its Bextra painkiller and other drugs. What hasn't been brought to light is that this is Pfizer's FOURTH settlement over false advertising. We need to reign in these companies before they start to do more harm than good. Hopefully the health care reform will lay out some rules and regulations that will impose stiffer penalties on companies that promote products illegally.

Here's a video by Dr. Hilary Cash talking about internet addiction:

Here's a GREAT video from Robert Reich talking about health care reform. Please be sure to take the 2 minutes to watch this one:

Here's something funny.

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1 comment:

  1. the internet addictions are sort like food addictions. cuz ya need food to live, and lots of people require the interwebs in their daily business life. id be curious to see what comes of further research. ive been known to squander too many hours online and iphones make it worse!