发表于:2014-12-04 10:48 [只看楼主] [划词开启]

As far back as 1997, before the days of ubiquitous smartphones and laptops, when dial-up and AOL dominated the landscape, psychologists were already testing the “addictive potential” of the World Wide Web. Even then, certain people were exhibiting the same kinds of symptoms that appeared with other addictions: trouble at work, social isolation, and the inability to cut back. And, to the extent that there was something that people referred to as an addiction, it appeared to be to the medium itself—the feeling of connectedness to something—rather than to an activity that could be accomplished via that medium.


By 2008, the worry about Internet addiction progressed to such a point that The American Journal of Psychiatry published an editorial strongly suggesting that Internet Addiction be included in the next, and fifth, version of the so-called bible of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). A decade of research, wrote the psychiatrist Jerald Block, had only proven what the 1997 study had suspected, that the Internet could inspire the same patterns of excessive usage, withdrawal, tolerance, and negative repercussions as more traditional substance use. What’s more, Block concluded, “Internet addiction is resistant to treatment, entails significant risks, and has high relapse rates.” It was a disease that needed treatment as much as any other disease did.


The realization that the Internet may be inducing some addictive-seeming behaviors in its own right has only grown more widespread. One study, published in 2012, of nearly twelve thousand adolescents in eleven European countries, found a 4.4 per cent prevalence of what the authors termed “pathological Internet use” or using the Internet in a way that affected subjects’ health and life. That is, through a combination of excessive time spent online and that time interfering with necessary social and professional activities, Internet use would result in either mental distress or clinical impairment, akin to the type of inability to function associated with pathological gambling. For maladaptive Internet use—a milder condition characterized by problematic but not yet fully disruptive behavior—the number was 13.5 per cent. People who exhibited problematic use were also more likely to suffer from other psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, A.D.H.D., and O.C.D.


Internet addiction ultimately did not make the list of officially recognized behavioral addictions in DSM-V, but compulsive gambling did. It had taken gambling several decades of extensive research to make the cut, and there simply wasn’t enough systematic, longitudinal data about Internet addiction. But, to Potenza, Block’s conclusions rang true. Sue wasn’t the first patient that he’d seen for whom the Internet was causing substantial, escalating problems; that number had been rising slowly over the last few years, and his colleagues were reporting the same uptick.

分类: 英语

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