Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I Guess That Makes Me Your Pusher

BREITBART - The United States could be rife with Internet addicts as clinically ill as alcoholics, an unprecedented study released suggested.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in Silicon Valley said their telephone survey indicated more than one of every eight US residents showed at least one sign of "problematic Internet use."



The findings backed those of previous, less rigorous studies, according to Stanford.

Most disturbing was the discovery that some people hid their Internet surfing, or went online to cure foul moods in ways that mirrored alcoholics using booze, according to the study's lead author, Elias Aboujaoude.

"In a sense, they're using the Internet to self-medicate," Aboujaoude said. "And obviously something is wrong when people go out of their way to hide their Internet activity."

Aboujaoude, clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of Stanford's Impulse Control Disorders Clinic, said that a small but growing number of Internet users are starting to visit their doctors for help with unhealthy attachments to cyberspace. He said these patients' strong drive to compulsively use the Internet to check e-mail, make blog entries or visit Web sites or chat rooms, is not unlike what sufferers of substance abuse or impulse-control disorders experience: a repetitive, intrusive and irresistible urge to perform an act that may be pleasurable in the moment but that can lead to significant problems on the personal and professional levels.

According to preliminary research, the typical Internet addict was a single, college-educated, white male in his 30s, who spends approximately 30 hours a week on non-essential computer use.

"Not surprisingly, online pornography and, to some degree, online gambling, have received the most attention - but users are as likely to use other sites, including chat rooms, shopping venues and special-interest Web sites," he said. "Our survey did not track what specific Internet venues were the most frequented by respondents, but other studies, and our clinical experience, indicate that pornography is just one area of excessive Internet use."