In the article Hooked on the Web: Help Is on the Way Sarah Kershaw discussed the problem of the Internet/Computer addiction. The author shows different points of view on this problem.
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Some mental health professionals determine it as decease and call it Internet addiction disorder. They call the patients suffering from this decease onlineaholics. They state that this kind of decease can have as destructive effect as drug addiction or alcoholism. They maintain that it must be treated like any other dependency. The author attributed Dr. Hilarie Cash to this group of specialists, and the main part of the article is based on the information obtained from her clinic and her experience as she has been treating this kind of patients for 10 years. Dr. Cash claims that it is really serious decease saying that she treated suicidal patients who lost everything – their jobs, marriages because of their heavy use of the Internet.
Another group of specialists do not consider the heavy use of computer and the Internet to be a serious problem. They do not qualify it as an addiction, and one of such skeptics called it “a fad illness”. They argue that heavy use of the Internet do not have the same influence on the health and family life as the addictions conventionally recognized by the mental health professionals.
The specialists treating the Internet addiction prove their viewpoint on the problem pointing out that the patients suffering from online addiction have similar symptoms to the patients who are treated from drug or alcoholic addiction, namely severe anxiety, profuse sweating, paranoid symptoms, etc. In some clinics Web addicts are treated in the same way as other chemical addicts, placing the patients together for some kinds of group therapy or other recovery work.
Another serious problem concerning the question under discussion is that this case is not recognized as a disorder in psychiatry, and insurance companies do not give money for treatment. Besides, little scientific work was done on the problem of Internet addiction. But it can be stated from the words of Dr. Cash that addiction is very serious illness, and the number of the persons suffering from it increases from year to year.
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