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Internet Addiction Disorder: Man Has Withdrawals from Google Glass

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The debate of internet addiction disorder has continued to cycle in the nation as recent publications hit the press that were centered on the first man being treated for symptoms attributed to the addiction due to his chronic Google Glass use.  Although society doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge both beneficial and detrimental effects of technological device advancements, there is great controversy over whether there is an actual internet addiction disorder or if it is merely symptoms of other psychiatric illnesses seeping through.

Is Internet Addiction Disorder Real?

Details were disclosed of a 31-year-old navy man receiving treatment for his alcoholism at a center where he was confined away from not only alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, but electronic devices as well for a total of 35 consecutive days.  This proved to be more than a challenge for him since he was wearing and using his Google Glass for 18 hours out of the day.  What is Google Glass exactly?  Google Glass is a recent technologic device that can conveniently be worn like glasses to provide the operator instant Internet access.  In the amount of time that the man was in treatment, he reported suffering periods of severe withdrawals to which he described as being far worse than his alcohol withdrawals.  His symptoms were illustrated when he would touch the side of his head as if he were wearing the Google product.  Agitation and becoming defensive were noticeable signs of withdrawal as well.  It was inferred that he had inadvertently trained his brain to become rewarded to the sensation that the Google Glass provided him.  However, with such generic withdrawal symptoms many scientists and doctors are quick to argue that internet addiction disorder isn’t its own subsidiary addictive disease.  Dr. Andrew Doan, who is known for his work in addiction and his publications in Addictive Behaviors, firmly believes internet addiction disorder is a very real illness of its own.  “People used to believe alcoholism wasn’t a problem – they blamed the person or the people around them,” he began.  “It’s just going to take a while for us to realize that this is real. There’s nothing inherently bad about Google Glass.  It’s just that there is very little time between these rushes. So for an individual who’s looking to escape, for an individual who has underlying mental dysregulation, for people with a predisposition for addiction, technology provides a very convenient way to access these rushes. And the danger with wearable technology is that you’re allowed to be almost constantly in the closet, while appearing like you’re present in the moment.”

Internet addiction disorder isn’t a new issue.  Concerns have risen over the past few years about how addictive social networks, cell phones, and the internet itself can be.  There is an entire field dedicated to studying online addiction.  “It can be the primary problem that an individual develops that then leads to more problems, or the symptom of other problems like personality disorders,” explained Daria Kuss, who happens to be someone studying in the field at Nottingham Trent University.  Despite the growing field and desire to understand the addictive qualities that the internet can impose on people, internet addiction disorder is not listed under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as of yet.  Even so, the public is cautioned to watch their internet use, tending to the luxury in appropriate moderation.




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