Internet Addicts Often Suffer Depression and Other Disorders

Credit: Image courtesy of Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum

Chatting via WhatsApp rather than meeting friends in real life,
sharing holiday photos on Facebook rather than showing them in
person, playing video games rather than going out. Digital media
play an important role in our everyday lives. However, some
spend excessive amount of time online, unable to break free.

As a writer I spend an inordinate amount of time on a computer, scanning through daily science stories, editing and posting on this blog, plus working on other projects.  Living on an electronic device has become my norm.  But does that make me an internet addict?  I hope not, but there is always that risk.

What happens to a person who loses control of their internet usage?  According to many researchers, they become addicted to the electronic world, suffering effects not unlike addiction to alcohol and other substances.

This subject effects writers who may find themselves feeling addicted, or that have family members or friends who may be addicted.

The internet is a fact of modern life, and impacts the story arc of your fiction.  This addiction potentially impacts the development of characters in your fiction.  If a character in your work is an internet addict, an understanding of how this impacts their life and how it colors and controls their relationships is an important part of your work.  

Now, according to this research, internet addicts also are prone to other psychological problems as well. adding to our depth of understanding what many consider to be a major problem.

Here's the story:

Internet addicts often suffer related disorders

Internet addicts often suffer from related disorders, most 
frequently depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and ADHS.

Internet addicts often suffer from concomitant disorders, most frequently from depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and ADHS. PD Dr med. Bert te Wildt studies this phenomenon at the Ruhr-Universität's LWL Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy.
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Disorders similar to that in alcohol addicts
The researcher from Bochum has compiled a so-called comorbidity profile of 25 Internet addicts. Each patient presented at least one concomitant disorder. Together with his colleagues, Bert te Wildt examined 25 alcohol addicts for comparison. Their comorbidity profile was quite similar. However, only every other patient in this cohort suffered from a concomitant disorder. "These results highlight the significance of comorbidity for Internet addiction," says te Wildt. He also points out: "This is not a one-way street, the disorders interact." In another study, he found evidence that in a number of patients Internet addiction may be traced back to similar personality structures.

Large numbers presumably undetected
According to estimates, 500,000 Germans in the age bracket from 14 to 64 years suffer from Internet addiction, which most commonly takes the shape of online gaming addiction. The studies conducted by Bert te Wildt's team at the media outpatient clinic in Bochum suggest that many cases remain undetected.

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Story Source: Materials provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum, original article written by Julia Weiler. "Internet addicts often suffer from additional disorders." ScienceDaily, 2 October 2014


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