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US full of Internet addicts: study


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#1
Retired Tech

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The United States could be rife with Internet addicts as clinically ill as alcoholics, a study suggested.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, said their telephone survey indicated more than one in eight US residents showed at least one sign of "problematic Internet use."

The findings backed those of previous, less rigorous studies, according to the Stanford researchers.

Most disturbing was the discovery that some people hid their Internet surfing, or went online to cure foul moods in ways that mirrored the way alcoholics use booze, according to the study's lead author, Elias Aboujaoude.

"In a sense, they're using the Internet to self-medicate," Aboujaoude said. "And obviously something is wrong when people go out of their way to hide their Internet activity."

According to preliminary research, the typical Internet addict is a single, college-educated, white male in his 30s, who spends approximately 30 hours a week on non-essential computer use.

While the profile might hint that online pornography is at the root of the Internet obsession, that was only one piece of the equation, Aboujaoude concluded.

"Online pornography and, to some degree, online gambling, have received the most attention but users are as likely to use other sites, including chat rooms, shopping venues and special-interest websites," Aboujaoude said.

Stanford researchers interviewed 2,513 adults in a nationwide household survey. Because Internet addiction has not been clinically defined as a medical condition, study questions were based on established addiction disorders.

Research indicated that nearly 14 percent of the respondents found it difficult to stay away from the Internet for several days and that slightly more than 12 percent often remained online longer than expected.

More than eight percent of the people surveyed said they hid "non-essential" Internet use from family, friends or employers and nearly the same number went online to flee from real-world problems.

Nearly six percent of the respondents felt that their personal relationships suffered as a result of their excessive Internet use.

"Our telephone survey suggests that potential markers of problematic Internet use are present in a sizeable portion of the population," the researchers noted in a paper appearing in the October issue of CNS Spectrums: The International Journal of Neuropsychiatric Medicine.

Aboujaoude, a psychiatry professor in charge of Stanford's Impulse Control Disorders Clinic, said that a small but increasing number of Internet users are going to doctors seeking help to sever their unhealthy attachments to cyberspace.

He said these patients' compulsive drive to check e-mail, make blog entries or visit websites or chat rooms is not unlike what sufferers of substance abuse experience -- an irresistible urge to perform an act that may be pleasurable in the moment but that can lead to significant problems on personal and professional levels.

"The issue is starting to be recognized as a legitimate object of clinical attention, as well as an economic problem, given that a great deal of non-essential Internet use takes place at work," said Aboujaoude.
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#2
lizglass

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They forgot to mention insomniac middle aged women! I, for one, sometimes spend whole nights at the Internet :whistling:

Edited by lizglass, 20 October 2006 - 06:35 PM.

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#3
harrythook

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The United States could be rife with Internet addicts as clinically ill as alcoholics, a study suggested


Good thing they did not use the phone list of members here, to conduct that survey.
Anyway, pass me another beer, please!
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#4
Mr. Green

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Wow, they consider 30 hours a week addicted, now thats funny. Between surfing when I should be working(im not sure on what)(funny enough alot on this site) and going home and playing FF XI I easly hit 50 hours a week.
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#5
silencedmessage

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I personally think it was wrong for them to compare people using the internet to drinking. Internet addiction could potentially be a good thing. First off, when people use the internet whilst depressed, they are not harming their body. Also, what can you REALLY learn when you are drunk? How fast you can chug a beer? :whistling:

If they really wanna call it an addiction, im just glad Im addicted to the internet rather than alcohol ^.^
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#6
Mr. Green

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I used to drink....alot. But since seeking real help they told me to find something else to occupy my time and I found computers. I may be attached at the hip to the internet but at least it is safe. I understand that some people get over attached and that is the problem that I think the school is talking about but seriously would you rather have people addicted to drugs and alcohol potentially hurting themselves or other or someone sitting at a desk potentially creating the next best thing in computer software ever.
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#7
Kat

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Hey! I resemble this article! :blink: Liz..I'm with you. I'm the one that never sleeps, and you'll often find me prowling around here very late at night.

If you take away this site and all of the other malware-type sites...I spend very little time on the internet. So let's see...addicted to the Internet...maybe. But I'm doing my part to help a heck of a lot of people, so I'd say I have a pretty healthy addiction. :whistling:
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#8
Macro Svelte

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If you can find a way to walk and browse the Net at the same time, there"s no problem. Internet Cafe's though, I find quite depressing. But 30 Hours per week is considered addicted?! That's odd. What else are you going to do --walk sans electronic apparatus connected to your head? What a world. :whistling: S_naked_on_the_lake.jpg
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