Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Internet addiction and mental illness

The free London paper ran a front page article today on the relationship between Internet addiction and mental illness, as researched by Dr Catriona Morrison.

If people are addicted, it can affect a person’s ability to perform at work or they may be failing to do chores so they can go online.’

However, she admitted more work needed to be done to establish whether addiction or mental illness comes first.

We all know that it is possible to become addicted to things that are otherwise pretty harmless, even healthy. But once things have reached addiction levels, it is a different matter entirely. I once saw a man selling his own children's toys on the pavement in order to get money for the next bottle. In the throes of addiction, people will contravene even their own codes of decency.

The thing is, when you're addicted to something, the only option seems to be a complete break. An alcoholic will never have the control necessary to become an occasional social drinker.

So what hope is there for an Internet addict? Cutting off all usage of the Internet would be akin to a voluntary imposition of illiteracy and near-hermitage.

Is a puzzlement.

2 comments:

V Yonkers said...

Yes, but people also have food addictions. In this case, more and more research is going into what is happening to the brain during this time.

Our Public Broadcasting channel had a great report on the Digital Nation, which included a section on what Korea is doing about teen online gaming addiction.

Karyn Romeis said...

@V_Yonkers I'm aware of food addictions, and as far as I know, these addicts also have to avoid the food they're addicted to. I used to be a smoker, and I am the daughter and granddaughter of alcoholics, so I know a little about addiction.

Thanks for the link to the site. There's some really interesting looking stuff, there!