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Internet Addiction Disorder: Symptoms, Criteria, and Solution
By: Jeff Louis
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I've had a few run-ins with various addictions working as a weekend counselor at a recovery house, but they've been mainly of the substance-variety. There are, of course, other types of addiction (gambling, sexual, etc.), but to be quite honest, I had never heard of <a title="Wikipedia" href="http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_addiction_disorder" target="_blank">Internet Addiction Disorder</a> (IAD).

Internet Addiction Disorder has not been classified as a "true" addiction according to the <a title="AllPsych.com" href="http://http://allpsych.com/disorders/dsm.html" target="_blank">Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th. Edition</a> (DSM-IV), which is basically the Bible for classification and treatment of addictions.

However, IAD is characterized by addiction-like symptoms, such as excessive time spent with the addictive "substance", difficulty reducing use, lack of interest in family or social relations, racing thoughts, irritability and lack of sleep. As with any true malady, IAD shows no bias toward age, social class, race, ethnicity, education, income or gender classification. The following criteria for Internet addiction is based on the <a title="MindDisorders" href="http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Internet-addiction-disorder.html" target="_blank">diagnostic standards</a> for pathological gambling:
<blockquote><strong>The patient must meet all of the following criteria:
<li>He or she is preoccupied with the Internet (thinks about previous activity or anticipates the next online session)</li>
<li>He or she needs to spend longer and longer periods of time online in order to feel satisfied</li>
<li>He or she has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use</li>
<li>He or she is restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down/stop Internet use</li>
<li>He or she repeatedly stays online longer than he or she originally intended</li>
<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-6917" title="restart-logo" src="http://digitalpivot.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/restart-logo.jpg" alt="restart-logo" width="143" height="104" />Believe it or not, there is help available for Internet addicts. <a title="reStart" href="http://www.netaddictionrecovery.com/" target="_blank">reStart</a>, the first IAD recovery center has opened its doors, offering 45-day program to wean "addicts" off of online activities, including gaming, texting, and Twitter.

Yet, in a somewhat confusing contradiction of objectives, reStart has its own social network, including presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Hmm..


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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