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PR Pros, Now There's an Excuse for Your Internet Addiction
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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It is no secret that PR professionals have to be connected at all times, depending on the needs of the client. And by connected, I mean being the type of the person that lives by the mantra, "Sleep is for those with no Internet connection." If your client needs you, there's your smartphone attached to your email attached to your work server attached to every file you have attached to your...well, you get the idea. 

And now, for folks like me...that, there is an official mental disorder: Internet Use Disorder

Officially published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), this stuff is about to get real: 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the crafters of the DSM-V, a person with IUD will experience ‘preoccupation’ with the Internet or Internet gaming, withdrawal symptoms when the substance (Internet) is no longer available, tolerance (the need to spend more and more time on the Internet to achieve the same ‘high’), loss of other interests, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and use of the Internet to improve or escape dysphoric mood.

Oh, come on. It was only a matter of time. When can we start claiming workman's compensation on this tragic disorder? You mean, I'm doing my job too much? This is a slacker's dream come true! Can't you see it? [Cue harp music]

Um...boss? I know I need to get that crisis communications proposal to our number one client in an hour, but my doctor has limited my Internet access to five hours a day. You know, I have this mental health disorder? Here's my doctor's note. No really. I have issues. I would love to work, but if you will excuse me, I'm going to shop...UH, to sleep. Yeah, that's it. *YAWN*

Seriously?! Yes, this is serious. Evidently, some studies have found that people with Internet addiction have "fewer dopamine receptors in certain areas of the brain, and others have suggested additional ways in which dopamine function might be impaired. And very recent studies have suggested how certain genetic variations may be involved in Internet addiction." Personally, I have always thought that of people I know who can't get enough Redtube, but hey, if this is the new title for it, who am I to argue? 

Now, here's my question: If you know this is now "a thing," will this limit how you do your job? Will this prevent your dedication to the job? Will this stop how effective you are at your job?

If your answer is yes, may I recommend this old-fashioned task? It's called "Going Outside." Really. There are these things called parks...or even sidewalks. Try one sometime. You know, while you are waiting for the pill that comes with this addiction. Only, I can't remember, is that pill the blue pill...or the red pill?

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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