No, internet addiction is not an ‘official mental illness’

The media has been buzzing with the supposed news that ‘internet addiction’ has been added to the list of ‘official mental disorders’. This is nonsense, but it tells us something oddly disappointing about how the media handles tech scare scores. This recent wave of ‘the internet is making us crazy’ drivel stemmed from an article … Continue reading “No, internet addiction is not an ‘official mental illness’”

Internet addiction storm breaks in China

For several years ‘internet addiction’ has been promoted by the Chinese government as a serious mental illness affecting large numbers of young people, but in recent months it has started to pull back, seemingly due to the growth of a widespread, poorly regulated and abusive system of internet addiction ‘treatment’ centres. Firstly, let me say … Continue reading “Internet addiction storm breaks in China”

‘Internet addiction’ lacks validity finds another study

Dr Shock covers a new study examining the validity of one of the most popular methods for diagnosing ‘internet addiction’, Young‚Äôs Diagnostic Questionnaire, finding it lacks even the most basic ability to distinguish between frequent and infrequent net users. Validity is one of the essential components of a psychological measure. It refers to whether it … Continue reading “‘Internet addiction’ lacks validity finds another study”

‘Internet addiction’ built on foundations of sand

A study just published in the journal CyberPsychology and Behavior has reviewed all of the available scientific studies on internet addiction and found them to be mostly crap. And not just slightly lacking, really pretty awful. To quote from the research summary: The analysis showed that previous studies have utilized inconsistent criteria to define Internet … Continue reading “‘Internet addiction’ built on foundations of sand”

Internet addiction nonsense hits the AJP

While we’ve got used to ‘internet addiction’ popping up in the media from time to time, it has inexplicably been the subject of an editorial in this month’s American Journal of Psychiatry arguing it should be included in the DSM-IV – the next version of the diagnostic manual for psychiatry. The editorial suggests that we … Continue reading “Internet addiction nonsense hits the AJP”

Why there is no such thing as internet addiction

‘Internet addiction’ doesn’t exist. It can’t, because it’s a logical impossibility, a category error, and there’s no good evidence that heavy internet use, in itself, is a risk to mental health. A paper of mine, just published in the Journal of Mental Health [pdf], describes why, but I’m going to summarise the arguments here because … Continue reading “Why there is no such thing as internet addiction”

The brain melting internet

Susan Greenfield has been wibbling to the media again about how the internet is melting the brains of young children. Quite frankly, I’ve become fed up with discussing the evidence that refutes such outlandish claims but The Lay Scientist has a brilliant parody that manages to catch the main thrust behind her argument. I thought … Continue reading “The brain melting internet”

The internet, depression and drinking a glass of water

A new study has made headlines around the world that claim that internet use is linked to depression despite better evidence from previous studies that there is no substantial link. The study itself is a fairly straightforward online survey with the key finding that out of 1,319 people who completed the questionnaires, 18 were identified … Continue reading “The internet, depression and drinking a glass of water”

The addiction affliction

Slate has just published an article I’ve written on the over-selling of addiction. It discusses how difficulties with doing some things to excess – shopping, sex, internet use – are being increasingly described as addictions due to a perfect storm of pop medicine, pseudo-neuroscience, and misplaced sympathy for the miserable. Like a compulsive crack user … Continue reading “The addiction affliction”

Hypnosis addiction: the scourge of the Victorian lady

I’m currently reading the wonderful but very long book The Discovery of the Unconscious which I shall post more about later. However, I noticed this little gem about hypnosis in the late 1800s which just smacks of the current hand-wringing over the non-existent (or rather can’t-existent) ‘internet addiction’. The problems described are so obviously not … Continue reading “Hypnosis addiction: the scourge of the Victorian lady”

Loaded dice in gambling addiction research

‘Who says Americans don’t do irony?’ I joked the other week, noting the National Center for Responsible Gaming conference on gambling addiction was being held in Las Vegas. According to an article in Salon, the joke has fallen a little flat, as the NCRG is funded by the gambling industry and may have a vested … Continue reading “Loaded dice in gambling addiction research”

Is the internet good for our mental health?

This week’s ABC Radio National All in the Mind discusses how the internet can affect the mind, whether we can be addicted to it, and how it’s being used to delivered effective psychological therapies for a range of mental disorders. This is the programme I was interviewed for a few weeks ago (through the magic … Continue reading “Is the internet good for our mental health?”

No, the web is not driving us mad

Oh Newsweek, what have you done. The cover story in the latest edition is an embarrasing look at non-research that certainly doesn’t suggest that the internet is causing “extreme forms of mental illness”. The article is a litany of scientific stereotypes and exaggeration: The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making … Continue reading “No, the web is not driving us mad”

2010-09-10 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Neuroscience hip-hop. The Beautiful Brain discovers a new track from Prince Ea where he waxes lyrical about the cortex. The neurobiological microphonist discusses the track here. The New York Times says to forget what you know about good study habits and discusses where the … Continue reading “2010-09-10 Spike activity”

2010-06-11 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A new study finds that superstitions improve performance by increasing confidence. Some excellent coverage from Not Exactly Rocket Science and from Bad Science. Time magazine reports the counter-stereotype finding that men are more susceptible to emotional ups and downs after relationship break-ups than women. … Continue reading “2010-06-11 Spike activity”