Thursday, December 01, 2005

When Everything We Do (including blogging) Is An Addiction

After perusing today's New York Times, I have determined that we live in a time where every breath, tick, or activity we engage in that is not directly related to work or family is considerd an addiction. Hooked on the Web: Help is on the Way (in the Style section, no less) details the problem that so many of us seem to be developing with our excessive/obsessive Internet use.

Here's the skinny on onlineaholics
These specialists estimate that 6 percent to 10 percent of the approximately 189 million Internet users in this country have a dependency that can be as destructive as alcoholism and drug addiction, and they are rushing to treat it. Yet some in the field remain skeptical that heavy use of the Internet qualifies as a legitimate addiction, and one academic expert called it a fad illness.

Skeptics argue that even obsessive Internet use does not exact the same toll on health or family life as conventionally recognized addictions. But, mental health professionals who support the diagnosis of Internet addiction say, a majority of obsessive users are online to further addictions to gambling or pornography or have become much more dependent on those vices because of their prevalence on the Internet.

But other users have a broader dependency and spend hours online each day, surfing the Web, trading stocks, instant messaging or blogging, and a fast-rising number are becoming addicted to Internet video games.

I don't know...sounds more like it's just easier in many ways to do stuff on the 'net than it is to go out and do it. When there's no longer a town square to venture out to, when one has to drive from here to there, and never meets a friendly soul, one might just as soon spend more quality time online than in the physical world.

Sometimes the better community is online rather than in one's own backyard.

Perhaps, though, this is just the disease-du-jour. In an article titled "Our National Eating Disorder" (NYT 10/17/04), our problem then was carbophobia We'd developed such a reverence for Atkins-style diet programs that many of us here and across the Pond in the U.K. were developing an unhealthy aversion to breads, pastas and potatoes. We were neglecting the need for healthy carbs, and were getting hysterical over Panina Bread places moving into our neighborhoods.

Personally, I think our latest "addiction" is just another buzzword for some enterprising shrinks to solemly banter around, then sell it to some poor souls who have a general existentialist angst about life and feel a pathological need to patholigize themselves.

The problem isn't with unhealthy internet use, or an unhealthy aversion to carbos, but an unhealthy and bovine-like acceptance of psychobabble.

Makes me long for the days of simple patholigies like "sex addiction"...and Bill Clinton.

Now, where'd I put that bag of potato chips?? I'm gonna be here for awhile....

crossposted on Snarkhaholic

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