Posted by: Suzanne Wheeler
Do you believe a person can become addicted to using the internet?
For me, the answer is self-evident. I’ve been there – hooked up to the internet like an IV lifeline feeding me whatever it took to stay alive. This wasn’t the present day of MySpace and WoW, but the old days of VAX machines, local bbs, and MUDs. I agree with Dr. Jerald J. Block, M.D.’s view that, “About 86% of Internet addiction cases have some other DSM-IV diagnosis present.” I do.
The internet was my way to self-medicate for depression. I experienced some of the same symptoms Kimberly S. Young observed in her study of Internet Addiction Disorder. Young cites a distinct difference in the type of internet programs addicted and non-addicted people use. 75% of the addicts spent most of their time in chat rooms, MUDs, newsgroups and bbs while 79% of the non-addicts spent their time on e-mail, www, and information protocols. I still pine for the days I spent on my favorite MUD and am proud of the fact that my character is immortalized in the code. The bbs I frequented introduced me to the reason I moved to Arkansas and indirectly, the love of my life.
How do I cope with Internet Addiction? Is it like alcoholism where total abstinence is called for? Well, obviously the internet is an inherent part of my career, so being chaste is not an option. However, I consciously abstain from these internet activities: instant messaging, social networking, mmorpgs (like WoW), and virtual worlds. In fact, I used a web search and copied the links for this article to avoid direct access to the sites. When warning signs show up, I back off the activity and spend some quality time on the couch in the world of the living.
Computer gaming is a great stress reliever after a hard day at work. I confess I am so easily sucked in to gaming on my computer it’s like hooking up the IV for old time’s sake. This is my #1 reason for not upgrading my home computer and having a lousy 15″ CRT monitor plugged in to a case that wouldn’t know a video card from a 1200 baud modem. It does have neon though.
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