OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInternet addiction was a term coined in 1995 as a joke.  Today it is almost twenty years later and the Bradford Regional Center in Pennsylvania will be offering the first hospital-based treatment program for Internet addiction.  This really is a joke as the basis for the condition and the treatment are both unsubstantiated. 

Anyone can become addicted to pretty much anything if it gets to the point of interfering with one’s regular life and responsibilities.  That does not automatically make it a psychological problem or a “mental illness.”  Though Internet addiction is not officially a “mental disorder,” psychiatry is paving the way to make it one in the future. 

They are trying to make Internet addiction sound legitimate by comparing it to a physical disease.  Psychiatry claims that withdrawal symptoms are like those of hard core drug addicts.  This is hard to believe.  Severe drug addicts suffer immensely from the body craving crack cocaine, heroin or even just alcohol that the body isn’t getting anymore during their detox.  People that supposedly have Internet addiction have no physiological issue to address.  They didn’t ingest anything into their bodies, so it is not comparable to drug addiction. 

Despite this, it is still claimed that some will experience extreme discomfort like hard-core drug addicts, so these patients will need medication to make it through the seventy-two hour “digital detox.”   These patients have no drugs in their body to necessitate a detox, but it is considered appropriate to put drugs in the body?  This is flat out ridiculous. 

What medications will be given was not specifically mentioned, but it’s almost guaranteed that they will be psychotropic drugs.  After all, that is what psychiatry is all about these days.  Though this program at the hospital in Pennsylvania only has a week of therapy and education after the “digital detox,” it does provide a full psychological evaluation.  This opens the door to diagnoses in addition to Internet addiction and a prescription for a mind-altering psychiatric drug. 

One must realize that psychiatry is a business and that their business is in partnership with the drug industry.  When the first DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) was released in 1952, there were a little over one hundred “mental disorders.”  It is no coincidence that there are almost three hundred “mental disorders” today in the DSM.  Though the number of “disorders” has almost tripled in just over sixty years, it is not an indication that more people are “mentally ill” than ever before.  Psychiatry would certainly like everyone to think that, as it makes them look like they have “discovered” more “disorders” through advances in their field.  However, the real reason is that the more “disorders” they can come up with, the more drugs can be prescribed to treat those “disorders” and more money can be made. 

It is only a matter of time before Internet addiction is an official “disorder” in the DSM.  A drug company will provide a substantial amount of money for further “research” to show that all those people playing too many games on the internet are addicted and need treatment.  The psychiatrists will come up with broad symptoms that will supposedly respond to the drug to be marketed.  The result will be a new “bonafide” “disorder.” 

The potential for misdiagnosis and “epidemics” of Internet addiction is huge.  Millions and millions of people use the internet daily for hours at a time.  It is not unreasonable to assume that the definition of Internet addiction will eventually be broadened from the obsession of games to just using the internet for legitimate purposes.  This is the pattern of psychiatry these days as evidenced by the fact that normal emotions and behaviors have become “mental disorders.” 

A former chief of the American Psychiatric Association has admitted that they have made mistakes in the DSM which resulted in false epidemics and misdiagnoses.  Millions of children and adults were unnecessarily given mind-altering drugs without any legal consequences. 

One reason psychiatry gets away with this is that they have no medical test for any “disorder.”  Real physiological diseases can be located and deficiencies can be measured.  Psychiatry cannot measure or test anything, including so-called brain imbalances.  Diagnoses are based on subjective opinions which can vary immensely as the guidelines are loose or nonexistent.  The question is how can you medicate something that is not physically there?     

Since they cannot measure or detect Internet addiction and other “mental disorders,” they just vote on symptoms that match the drug chosen for the “disorder.”    They also can vote on whether to delete, modify or broaden any “mental disorder” in the DSM or about to be put in the DSM.  They basically have free rein to make up whatever they want and call it “science.”      

In order to pave the way for Internet addiction to get into the DSM, there will be “talk” on how it is a real behavioral problem.  Beware of being told underlying mental health issues like ADHD and anxiety are a cause, neither of which is substantiated with actual science.  Be aware that intelligent young males that regularly play games on the internet are already a target.  The point is, psychiatry can “talk” all they want to substantiate a “mental disorder” but realize they have no proof that a “mental disorder” exists because there is no medical test.    

It is good news that Internet addiction is not in the DSM yet because treatment for it cannot be billed to insurance companies.  At the Bradford Regional Center, it is a fourteen thousand dollar out of pocket expense for the patient for a ten day program.  At that price, Internet addiction remains a joke, especially with no science to substantiate it.