Should overuse of the Internet become a mental disorder?

USA“… One year ago, the American Journal of Psychiatry published an editorial calling for recognition of internet addiction as a ‘common disorder.’ A crop of almost surreal newspaper articles followed, with titles such as ‘Net Addicts Mentally Ill, Top Psychiatrist Says.’ But the response from our medical and mental-health communities was closer to a collective yawn. True, a skeptical reply came from the Harvard Mental Health Letter, whose editor, Michael Craig Miller, warned that it’s ‘probably not helpful to invent new terms to describe problems as old as human nature.’ Other than him, few experts seemed to notice — much less mind — that the flagship journal of American psychiatry was arguing quite seriously that overuse of the internet might be a psychiatric illness, on a par with, say, schizophrenia. The anniversary of the editorial seems like a good moment to revisit its controversial claims and see whether they have any merit …” (more)

[Christopher Lane, Psychology Today, 25 March]

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