Is the Internet a Drug?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The mental side effects of a drug withdrawal are often debilitating, and can include anxiety, confusion or mild to severe depression. This is true of cigarettes, alcohol, and heroin. But could it apply to the internet as well? According to a study conducted by the London based behavior research company Intersperience, 53 percent of people feel upset when they are separated from the internet, and 40 percent feel "lonely." Do these withdrawal symptoms mean that the Internet is a drug? And if so, what should be done to curb our national addiction?

Gary Small, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of "iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind," talks about whether these withdrawal symptoms mean the internet can be a drug. Harper’s Magazine writer McKenzie Funk wrote about how internet and video game addictions are handled in China.

Comments [6]

omkar12 from USA

Internet is not a drug. But it will show same effects like after drug addiction. It is also directly affects our mind and then after then that addicted person behave same like a drug addicted person. There are number of health related problems also occur.

Dec. 29 2011 05:12 AM
derek from pittsburgh

I enjoyed this piece. I was in my teens during the early days of the internet and I also grew up in an unstable home environment.

I remember getting a job to escape the house, which led to me saving up and building a computer... I then definitely escaped to the internet. I'm not sure it was an addiction, as I had family members with alcohol addictions. To me it was more a distraction, sometimes a family.

Now I have made a career out of it, but no longer feel the need to escape.

Jul. 28 2011 10:11 AM

Good ear, Angel! Bloc Party is our music that comes out of headlines each hour.

Jul. 28 2011 09:37 AM

Good ear, Angel! Bloc Party is our music that comes out of headlines each hour.

Jul. 28 2011 09:36 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

I think I have an Internet addiction. The first thing I do when I arrive at home or at work is go online. It's not as bad as 10 years ago. That's mainly due to the current search engines which don't do a good job of finding anything. So it curbs my motivation for random surfing. I guess Google is my nicotine patch.

PS: that Takeaway drum solo sounds like Bloc Party's Positive Tension.

Jul. 28 2011 09:17 AM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

Addiction does not require drugs - besides the internet, we're also addicted to oil, gasoline, electricity, borrowing, credit cards, junk food, money, sex, gambling, being better than our neighbors, and ... being more than we can possibly be.

Jul. 28 2011 06:33 AM

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