Internet Addiction Causes
Internet Addiction literature typically makes up for the absence of clinical data and terminology by borrowing pre-existing text. Early researchers in this field have adopted the DSM-IV's criteria for compulsive gambling as a model and tweaked them accordingly—a methodology that may have applications elsewhere, but in the field of addictions and disorders, should strike most people as sloppy and inaccurate.
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One example is the oft-cited case of a Cincinnati mother who was so 'addicted' to AOL and the internet that she neglected her three children and led the family into squalor; she was charged with child endangerment.
Unfortunately, this anecdotal evidence offers nothing in the way of substantial research into internet addiction. Too many variables are left unexplored: perhaps she was never a good mother; more likely, she was responding to loneliness, depression, or a mental illness by staying online.
Critics of internet addiction note that the internet addiction causes are really a misdiagnosis of a pre-existing condition such as depression, ADD, anxiety, or impulse control. Furthermore the 'internet addiction' might be inherently inaccurate since one can't truly be hooked on the internet but, rather, engages in a pathological relationship with the internet.
While this may seem like a minor point, keep in mind that the US Congress passed legislation in 2007 to change the names of two government organizations focused on addiction and disease. As such, the term 'addiction' may soon invite legal issues such as whether private insurance companies will be asked to pay for the treatment of an internet addict.
Finally and most importantly, a number of credible groups including the American Medical Association, America Psychiatric Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine have all, in one form or another, rejected correlations between these behaviors and the disease of addiction.