Internet addiction? You may be asking yourself, “Is that even be a thing?”
It really is, even if the majority of the world hasn’t officially classified Internet Addiction as a disorder. The DSM-V (a guide for diagnosing mental health conditions) has listed internet gaming as a probable addictive behavior worthy of further study, yet they’ve omitted technological obsessions such as Facebook and the multitude of assorted smartphone apps which are just as easy to get hooked on.
With roughly 20 million addicts among their population, China classified Internet Addiction as a disorder back in 2008 when a medical panel agreed on the main criteria for being diagnosed:
● spending six hours a day or more online, not including work or academic study*
● feeling anxious when not online
● having trouble sleeping
*Many of the diagnosed addicts in China spend their online time engaged in such activities as gaming, shopping, social networking, or perusing pornography.
A large concern regarding Internet Addiction today is the alarming factor of age. The youth of China are using the Internet more than ever before, and the most compulsive users are gamers. Some gamers have been known to wear adult diapers to avoid having to get up to use the bathroom, that’s how serious this is. With the increase in Internet gaming addiction comes the appalling news stories, like the starvation death of a child whose young parents couldn’t tear themselves away from a game. If this isn’t indicative of a problem, then what is?
Primarily designed to treat young people, controversial treatment camps have been popping up due to the recent epidemic. Something clearly needs to be done, but are Internet Addiction Boot Camps the answer?
The concept of “tough love” becomes an understatement at many of these facilities. Largely filled with teenagers and young adults—many are there involuntarily—these boot camps are constructed to be prison-like settings. Patients actually live behind bars in some locations. They endure military-style training complete with physical labor and tough punishments for misbehavior. Due to the violent temperaments of the staff, accidental deaths are too frequent an occurrence. Whether from the extreme conditions (including excessive physical activity in both hot and cold temperatures) or physical abuse at the hands of their ‘providers’. Too many deaths have been reported as a result of punishments gone too far.
Yet camp proponents say these tough measures are needed, and boast of 70% success rates. Reform Camps may not be the answer but the prevalence of gaming and internet addiction in the culture has certainly got Chinese officials and parents on edge. Something certainly has to intervene if the next generation is to learn healthy standards of balance and good sense.
There are many forms of addiction and behavioral addictions can often coincide with substance abuse. If you have questions about addiction or struggle with a dependency, Treatment Now can offer guidance and treatment to get you on the road to recovery.
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