Thursday, February 22, 2007

Internet Helps Post-Traumatic Stress Sufferers?

The Associated Press reported on February 19 that a former employee of IBM was suing the company for firing him due to participating in chat rooms while at work. (See article,
Man Sues IBM Over Adult Chat Room Firing

The man claims that he visits the chat rooms to help relieve post-traumatic stress from his time in Vietnam. He says that the stress caused him to become "'a sex addict, and with the development of the Internet, an Internet addict'" and believes he should be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Read the article, it's entertaining, but is Internet addiction a reality? Psych Central looks at the issue from several angles on its website at

It points out that the Internet itself isn't addictive, but that some people may exhibit addictive behavior when it comes to Internet use. Technology is merely one more way for a person to avoid their family or problems they may be having. They could just as easily retreat to other activities, such as reading, which may or may not be recognized as addictive.

They also note that a good deal of time spent on the Internet is spent socializing through activities like checking email, chatting, or gaming. Whereas teenagers used to spend hours on the phone, perhaps they are migrating to the Internet to socialize.

As a society, we are quick to find something or someone to blame for any problem. I think the Internet cannot be blamed for addiction. If there is, in fact, a problem with Internet addiction, I think the real problem lies in the user's subject of avoidance.

If you aren't convinced and think you, or someone you know, may have an Internet addiction, try a quiz like the one by Net Addiction.

If all else fails, find an attorney that lets clients sue the sky for being blue.


Anonymous said...

Everything's an addiction. Nothing's an addiction. That gray area between a physical chemical imbalance and pure human fault is a tough nut to crack.
I know that "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey has been endlessly bashed for bending the truth, but his bravery in claiming responsibility for his addiction is admirable. And I think that is the key--responsibility. We all have the opportunity to drink ourselves into oblivion, have endless trysts with anonymous partners, neglect our duties at work, or lose ourselves in any number of diversions. The point is, most of us don't.