Complex Addictions
By staff
The University of Florida has finally published its long awaited study on Internet addiction and the results are more far reaching than expected. The report concludes that Internet addiction is a reality and that there are people that simply cannot control their urge to go online.

To assess potential net-addicts the Doctors at the University of Florida have developed a set of five essential questions used in diagnosing a person’s degree of unnecessary Internet usage. Tagged with the acronym MOUSE, the five questions are:

- M: More than intended time spent online.

- O: Other responsibilities neglected.

- U: Unsuccessful attempts to cut down

- S: Significant relationship discord because of use.

- E: Excessive thoughts or anxiety when not online.

But is net addiction similar to other addictions such as gambling? Apparently not…

“One of the first things we did was divorce problematic Internet use from the criteria used to describe other impulse control disorders…Taking a set of guidelines for compulsive gambling, and just substituting the word 'Internet' for 'gambling' is not an effective way to diagnose the problem” according to researcher Dr. Nathan Shapira.

What is a typical net addict? They are generally in their thirties, they are of either sex and they spend around 28 hours a week on their PCs. Shapira also noted that “boredom, self-consciousness, loneliness, social anxiety, shyness and low self-esteem” are predictors of net-dependant behavior.

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