Internet becomes the space, where many people all over the world tend to spend more and more of their time. Internet dependence negatively affects the normal life of a human being and inevitably leads to severe stresses for those who become addicted to the Internet and those who regularly communicate with web-maniacs.
Web addiction has already turned into a serious psychological problem for a huge number of people worldwide.
Dr. Kimberly Young, the author of “Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction—and a Winning Strategy for Recovery” says that up to ten percent of Americans (from 15 to 30 million people) have become victims of Internet addiction disorder. Web-mania progresses speedily in such countries as China, South Korea and Taiwan, where Internet-surfing is more popular than in the United States. The net has caught from 18 to 30 percent of population in those countries.
The symptoms of Internet addiction disorder may include: cybersex, online love affairs, porn-viewing and excessive gaming, of course.
Medical centers specializing on the rehabilitation on Internet victims spring up like mushrooms too.
Colin Moore, a coordinator of one of such centers in USA’s Illinois, said that college students and middle-aged people, who spend 14-18 hours online, suffer from the Internet addiction disorder.
Many people use the Internet like alcohol and do not develop an addiction to it. Afterwards, they may lose control over themselves and develop something similar to alcoholism.
Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is a hypothetical disorder originally made as a satirical hoax by Ivan Goldberg, M.D., in 1995. He took pathological gambling as diagnosed by the DSM-IV as his model for the spoofed description.
Although IAD was meant to be a hoax, it is promoted as a real condition by some supporters. Supporters often divide IAD into subtypes by activity, such as pornography, overwhelming and immoderate gaming, inappropriate involvement in online social networking sites or blogging, and Internet shopping addiction. Activities which, if done in person, would normally be considered troublesome, such as compulsive gambling or shopping, are sometimes called net compulsions.Others, such as reading or playing computer games, are troubling only to the extent that these activities interfere with normal life.
Problematic computer use or pathological computer use are accepted descriptions for excessive computer use that interferes with daily life. These terms avoid the distracting and divisive term addiction and are not limited to any single cause.
Despite opposition from many quarters, researcher Kimberly Young, Psy. D. is lobbying for the inclusion of IAD into the DSM-V, the next edition of the DSM. Some proponents believe that its inclusion would open the doors for private insurance companies to pay for Internet addiction counseling. However, many others argue that IAD is neither a true addiction nor a specific disorder and should not be classified as a mental disorder in DSM-V. Furthermore, there is no evidence that people needing treatment are being denied it; instead, their situations are coded under other labels, such as ADD or depression, according to the underlying situation.
In June 2007, the American Medical Association declined to recommend to the American Psychiatric Association that they include IAD as a formal diagnosis in the 2012 edition of the DSM. Instead, their toned-down response recommended further research of "video game overuse." Members of the American Society of Addiction Medicine opposed calling Internet overuse and video games a true addiction. Among the necessary research is a way to define "overuse" and a way to differentiate an "internet addiction" from obsession, self-medication for depression or other disorders, and compulsion.
While there is mixed agreement about whether Internet Addiction is a legitimate, simultaneously, self-proclaimed sufferers are resorting to the courts for redress. In one recent American case (Pacenza v. IBM Corp.), the plaintiff argued he was illegally terminated in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act owing to his Internet Addiction triggered by Vietnam War-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The case is pending before the court in the Southern District of New York (case summarized in Glaser & Carroll, 2007).