Junkfood Science: Blogging disease

March 18, 2008

Blogging disease

Do you suffer from IAD?

If you’re a blogger, you could soon find yourself labeled with the newest mental disorder: Internet Addiction Disorder.

IAD has actually been proposed for inclusion as a psychiatric diagnosis in the next issue of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

Writing in the new issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. Jerald J. Block, M.D., said that excessive internet and computer usage should be labeled a mental disease, as it has all of the components of a compulsive-impulsive disorder:

1) excessive use, often associated with a loss of sense of time or a neglect of basic drives,

2) withdrawal, including feelings of anger, tension, and/or depression when the computer is inaccessible,

3) tolerance, including the need for better computer equipment, more software, or more hours of use, and

4) negative repercussions, including arguments, lying, poor achievement, social isolation, and fatigue

Fat people will soon find millions of others joining them being targeted as mental cases by the psychiatric industry. IAD shares similarities with obesity, Dr Block noted. It’s a “comorbid disorder” that is “resistant to treatment, entails significant risks and has high relapse rates.”

Speaking at last week’s Anxiety Disorders Association of America 28th Annual Meeting, Elias Aboujaoude, M.D., clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of Stanford's Impulse Control Disorders Clinic, said their telephone survey found that too many people are spending too much time on the internet. Of the people they surveyed, 4% to 14% had “a problem,” he said.

Not only that, but it's the latest issue for public health intervention.

“I do think that Internet addiction is a public health problem," Dr. Aboujaoude told Medscape Psychiatry. “As mental health professionals, we really should ask about people's online lives.”

Already, Dr. Eric Hollander, M.D., from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York is leading studies on the use of antidepressants for IAD. Like Dr. Aboujaoude’s research, Dr. Hollander’s research is being funding by Forest Pharmaceuticals.

Other research is focused on behavioral therapy for IAD.

We must all have a disease, or two or three... and a pill for each.

[Illustration credit: This wonderful cartoon has been making the rounds among bloggers and is the work of artist, Randall Monroe.]

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