Caught in the Web

Nicole Gibillini, The Gazette

Caught in the Web

Twenty-eight-year-old Brett is addicted to the Internet—everything from surfing the web for news, politics and forums to playing World of Warcraft. Brett says his addiction began at 13, but he only sought professional help about a year ago. After being away from the web for only an hour, Walker would start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. “I had my iPhone and was pretty much always connected,” he recalls. “It was like a disease—it went into so many parts of my life.”

Internet Addiction Disorder refers to excessive amount of Internet use that interferes with daily life. It affects about six to 13 per cent of the American population as a whole. The rate of addiction jumps to 13 to 19 per cent for people aged 18 to 28.

Symptoms of IAD include increasing amounts of time spent on the Internet and failed attempts to control behaviour. People with IAD have a heightened sense of euphoria while on the computer, constantly craving more time on the web.

Most people—especially students—are frequently connected to the web, but are unaware of the consequences. According to Internet addiction specialist Hilarie Cash, IAD is a growing concern. In 2009, Cash founded reSTART, the first Internet and gaming addiction recovery program in North America. The clinic, located in Washington, offers a program for video game or Internet addicts aged 18 to 38.

Even though Brett sought professional help for depression last year, he called reSTART only eight weeks ago to work with therapists specializing in Internet addiction. He says he needed to confront the issues he’d been escaping through the Internet.

“It takes over your life—you’re not really yourself,” Brett explains. “People hold opinions of you that you don’t think accurately describe you, but then you realize that the person they see you as is who you are because that’s how you’re acting.”


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This is your brain online

By Rob Spiegel


01/12/12 12:53 PM PT

Maybe the Internet won't exactly fry your brain, but it could change it in other unwelcome ways. A new study found a correlation between Internet addiction and specific brain changes often observed in alcoholics and drug addicts. There was evidence of disruption to the connections in the nerve fibers that connect brain areas involved in emotions, decision making and self-control.

Too many hours of Internet use might actually change your brain. Researchers in China have concluded that those who are addicted to the Internet may experience changes in the brain that are similar to those seen in individuals hooked on drugs or alcohol.

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Social Networking: Are you powerless to stop?

Are You Powerless Over Social Networking?

Titter all you want over Twitter addiction. The fact is, not being able to put the keyboard down is a growing concern—especially for sober addicts looking for a high.

by Laura Barcella

"My friend Allie knew her Internet stalking habit had gotten out of control when she had to install parental control software. Not for her kids (30 and based in San Francisco, Allie is single with no children), but for herself, to forcibly prevent her from peeking at her ex-boyfriend’s social networking profiles. “At times it felt incredibly compulsive,” she recalls. “Very much like the compulsion to drink and do drugs, before I got sober. I was thinking, ‘Don't do this; it won't end well,’ but I went ahead and did it anyway.”

"Allie’s case may be extreme, but she’s far from alone. Millions of people regularly use social networking hubs like Facebook and Twitter. Many of us, too, turn to everyday mood-alterers like alcohol, drugs, food, sex, or caffeine to numb out. But just like Pinot Grigio isn’t the cause of alcoholism, the Internet itself isn’t to blame for our overreliance on it. It’s how—and how often— websites are used that can become problematic. Some people innocently rely on social media to keep family, friends, and friendly strangers informed about their everyday lives. But in recent years, as American culture has Facebooked, Tweeted and Spotified its way into full-blown online overload, an unlucky few—some who are cross-addicted to other substances, like Allie—have become outright Internet junkies."


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Social Media and Online Gaming

Social Media and Online Gaming Addiction: A Growing Problem

September 21, 2011

Maybe you feel lost when you leave your house without your iPhone. Or contemplate Facebook updates while stuck in an interminable work meeting. Social media, mobile devices, and online gaming communities keep us increasingly connected to the world around us. But for some, the thrill of connection actually leads to isolation and addiction.
“Social media addiction is real,” says Rusel DeMaria, author of Reset: Changing the Way We Look at Video Games and a career advisor at The Art Institute of Seattle. DeMaria, who has researched social media and gaming addiction, adds that addiction is far more severe than a “habitual use of social media.” In other words, checking a Facebook account every hour doesn’t constitute an addiction.
DeMaria asserts that the test of addiction is to look at the impacts on your life.

Read the entire article at Media Arts



Video Games, Rehab, and Addiction

Published on September 21, 2011

By Caitlin Johnston/MCTCampus

Michael Decker is always reachable. The 42-year-old creative director from Dallas sleeps with his phone nearby on his nightstand. From when he wakes up and checks it until he sets it down before bed, his phone is constantly with him.“It’s an intrusion into your own private life,” he says. “It leads to burnout if you can never turn it off.”Decker, who owns an iPhone , a laptop and an iPad, uses his gadgets for work and for play. Though he makes a point not to look at his phone at dinner, he says his friends still chide him. Put that thing down, they say.

Read the entire article at NKU


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