Web of addiction
Web of addictionIs internet addiction disorder a real medical condition?
A young Chinese plays online games at an internet cafe in Beijing. [EPA/DIEGO AZUBEL]
Could frequent and constant internet use be classified as an addiction? Many Asian countries say it's a serious issue, especially when it comes to online gaming, while the American Psychiatric Association doesn't acknowledge it as a real disorder.
In 2008 an experiment at UCLA documented for the first time that even moderate internet use could rewire the brain. Another study by Chinese researchers found abnormal gray matter in the brains of those with internet addiction disorder (IAD), or specifically a 10 to 20 per cent reduction in the region of the brain responsible for processing speech, memory, motor control, emotion, and other information.
With cases of homicides stemming from compulsive online gaming to internet boot-camps being set up to cure those who overuse the internet, we examine if IAD is a serious mental health problem.
In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Dr. Hilarie Cash, co-founder of reSTART, and Dr. David Greenfield, director of The Center for Internet & Technology Addiction.
What do you think? Is internet addiction a real disorder? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using #AJStream.