Friday, July 11, 2008

We are all just addicts waiting to happen

It seems like anywhere you turn today, you can find a scientific explanation for almost any behavior, deviant or "normal." If you drink too much you are an alcoholic, if you smoke too much you are a nicotine addict, if you are overly sexually active, you are a sex-aholic. The best thing about all these labels is that they come with scientific (genetic) explanations. Whatever your addiction, clearly, it cant be a lack of self-control it can only be that you are genetically predisposed to that particular addictive pattern of behavior. Your behavior has everything to do with the cards you were dealt. You got a bad hand and now you will just have to live with it. Maybe a little therapy and some medication can help minimize its effects, but at the end of the day, your "addiction" will always be there lurking in the shadows to overtake you. You will never beat it, rather, you are always going to be a helpless victim of your genes, and the best you can ever say is that you are "recovering."

Well, now add one more group of helpless victims to the long list of addicts. In a recent article posted in the Telegraph, scientists report that they have found a new clinical disorder called "gadget addiction." This terrible addiction is explained as follows:

They suffer four symptoms: They forget to eat and sleep; they need more advanced technology or more hours online as they develop 'resistance' to the pleasure given by their current system; if they are deprived of their computer, they experience genuine withdrawal symptoms; And in common with other addictions, the victims also begin to have more arguments, to suffer fatigue, to get lower marks in tests and to feel isolated from society. http://Internet addiction is a 'clinical disorder'

Now before you start snickering too loudly at the “gadget addicts” take a moment to consider the debilitating nature of this problem. Dr. Jerald Block explains that some sufferers “were so addicted to the internet that they required medication or even hospital treatment to curb the time they spent on the web.”

He goes on to say that: "The relationship is with the computer. It becomes a significant other to them. They exhaust emotions that they could experience in the real world on the computer through any number of mechanisms: emailing, gaming, porn." Wow, sounds incredibly awful.

Perhaps you recognize yourself somewhere in those four symptoms, and are concerned that you too may be a “gadget addict.” Just wait though, because you may not need to rush out for 12 steps and meds just yet. Research suggests the true “gadget addict” is the species of highly educated, socially awkward men, oh yeah, and also middle aged housewives. If you don’t fit either of those categories, I am sorry to report to you that there is no known explanation for your obsessive internet addiction. But, on the other hand, don’t worry long over this because, after all, if the scientists keep fishing around in the gene pool they are likely to find just the disorder that ails you. In the mean time, just keep on with what you are doing, after all, you are simply doing what you are.

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