In recent times there have been plenty of cases of teenagers exhibiting signs that doctors would associate with drug addiction. A socially-friendly person is always agitated, secretive and withdraws from friends. But further prodding into the observations and the doctors find out the patient had nothing to do with drugs, but perhaps something quite like it. Doctors ultimately find out their teenager patients are addicted to YouTube and video games, to a point a where they didn’t feel like doing anything else. Doctors call this case an addiction to electronics.
Psychiatrists like Young have studied this phenomenon for decades now and says he sees a rise in such case which only prompts for new treatment programs to open across the country. Mental health centers in Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and other states are adding inpatient internet addiction treatment to their line of services.
However, there are skeptics and call this a false condition made up by teenagers who refuse to stay away from their smartphones. The rest said they had trouble explaining it to their families. Medical experts in the US have begun taking internet addiction more seriously.
But as of now, neither the World Health Organization (WHO) nor the American Psychiatric Association recognises internet addiction as a disorder.
It was in the previous year that WHO recognized a more specific Gaming Disorder following years of research in China, South Korea, and Taiwan, where doctors have called it a public health crisis.
WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said internet addiction is the subject of “intensive research” and consideration for future classification. The American Psychiatric Association has labeled gaming disorder a “condition for further study.” “Whether it’s classified or not, people are presenting with these problems,” Tuell said. Tuell recalled one person whose addiction was so severe that the patient would defecate on himself rather than leave his electronics to use the bathroom.
Tuell says that there would be further research about internet addiction to meet medical classification standards, as psychologists have found evidence of a brain adaptation in teens, who compulsively play games and use the internet.
“It’s not a choice, it’s an actual disorder and a disease,” said Danny. “People who joke about it not being serious enough to be super official, it hurts me personally.”