ADDICTION, NEW ADDICTION WITHOUT DRUG
The Net offers a lot of
possibilities for work, education, game and communication. But there
are some persons which are overusing the net, overtaking the limits
of a 'healthy' connexionwhich present the addiction behavior
criterion, loosing all kind of control to real life. The
corespondancy of the DSM-IV criterion of addiction prooves the
thruthfulness of this affirmation. Someone, will reply that the
addiction criterion could be applied in the same order, to gambling,
compulsive buying or sex addiction, the common key of these
addictive behaviors being the lost of control, the sensations
seeking and the pleasure. The cyberaddict presents a polyaddictive
pathology, including NetAddiction, comunication addiction and sex
addiction. Till now, the IRC and the articles concerning the subject,
where the exclusiveness of north-americain or canadian authors. The
experiencies of professors, clinical practioners, join the idea of
an addictive behavior to the 'Web'. Restoring a 'healthy' relation
to the Net, a better integration of the virtual reality into courant
life, the IRC, are some of the solutions proposed by the cyberaddict
themselves. A conclusion of this article, is the need to educate and
to be awared about the importance of the Net in our lives, in order
to take advantage from this excellent communication and information
- addiction - cyberaddiction — polyaddictive behavior -
communicationnal addiction - virtual reality
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We are living in a world that no
longer arrives to assimilate the new discoveries before they are
expired, in which the scientific research advances in a giant rhythm
on the resolution of most complex problems, where the material and
cultural consumption logic, has taken such an extent, that even the
world economical crisis and the atmosphere of moroseness no longer
arrive to brake.
- five years ago, a young American sociologist, Alvin Toffler, had
written a best-seller, "The Shock of the Future"
(Bantam Books, New York). This book, proposed to make the
evolution statement of moral and cultural values of socio-economical
concepts, evolution that had followed in exponential mode the
development of the science.
drew up the statement that moral values, after the
changes in the world representation, were confronted with the
emergence of a new category of values - transientes values -
brought to replace the loss of socio–family marks. This change had
generated a state of maladjustment, a spiritual and identitary quest,
where human relationshipshad to bear the bront of the rapidity and
the extent of this upheaval.
alarm raised by Toffler, confirmed in its book "The third
wave", stated the advent of new technologies: audiovisual
communication, appearance of hybridize machines possessing
properties of the artificial intelligence. These ones, judged
revolutionary, have become reality on our days. Techniques of
multimedia imagery, new cyber - brains
increasingly close to human
brain functioning, creation and free access to virtual worlds, are
bringing the confirmation of the boldest dreams that the human being
has never had.
great American sociologist, Herbert Marshall McLuhan, had already
observed in two of its more famous writings - "The Gutenberg
Galaxy" and "War and Peace in the Global Village"
- the psychological impact of new technologies on the behavior
and the evolution of human being. Anxiety was manifest in regard to
the socio - political impact of the scientific and technical
revolution, where the control of modern technologies appearered to
be difficulte. The implication of the whole geopolitical system, was
concretized by the appearance of a new concept, the ‘global
and development of Internet, the "system of
systems", fruit of the marriage between the knowledge in the
areas of telecommunications, the imagery and the most advanced
computer technologies that ally power, rapidity, fineness, is one of
the most remarkable realization of this end of millennium.
parallel between the invention of the typography by Gutenberg in
1456, which consequence
was the appearance of the 'Personal Book', and the invention of
Steve Jobs and Steven Wozniak, the 'Personnel
Computer', allow to observe that the appearance of the
personal book and the individual computer has generated the passage
to a superior level of human conscience, which acquires a quality
access to world knowledge, with an extraordinary speed, a
possibility of division and connection - source of a
socio-economical, moral and cultural revolution.
Internet allies advantages offered by unlimited and without
frontiers communication easiness, work conviviality, quality,
precision and rapidity of research, but also a ludic interactive
space and a mean without precedent in term of accessibility of
trading and purchasing on-line. But the most attractive, remains the
development of the virtual world, that mixes with the real world.
The question, is to know if there is complementarity between the two
worlds, more precisely if the virtual world is not replacing the
real world and if it appears to be more available and easier to live
and to bear.
tells J.G.Ballard "..it represents the greatest event in
human evolution. For the first time, mankind will be able to
deny reality and to substitute its own preferred vision".
the moment, Internet has become more than a great database, more
than a reliable and quality means allowing rapid communications in
real time. By its access facility, by its scientific connotation and
the social acceptance that accompanies it, the Internet becomes
easily object of abuse, according to Kathleen Scherer, physician and
psychologist to the Mental Health Center, University of Texas -
North-American scientific data, we can observe an increasingly
number of cyberiens, the cyberaddicts - these 'hackers'
of connection and communication, these addicts to the virtual world
that are passing hours and hours on - line, in order to visit and to
reside as long as possible in the virtual community, the Cyberland,
idealized expression of the planetary village of McLuhan.
"without drugs addictions", illustrate and regroup
in a descriptive, theoretical and therapeutical field, the addiction
behaviors. In order to define a valid descriptive model for the cyberiens,
a retrospective of the notion seems important. "Ad-diccere",
meant in the Roman Lex, the constraint by body, notion linked to
slavery, to the attribution of a physical person to another in order
to pay off its debts.
Goodman (9), an english psychiatrist, has formulated a definition of
the addiction by describing it like "..a processus in which
is realized a behavior that can have for function to obtain the
pleasure and to relieve an internal uneasiness, and that is
characterized by the repeated failure of its control and its
persistence in spite of negative consequences". He
describes these criteria of inclusions in the field of addictions:
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criteria of ADDICTION DISORDER
Impossibility to resist to pulsion to realize this type of
Growing tension sensation preceding immediately the beginning
of the behavior.
Pleasure or relief during its duration.
Sensation of control loss during the behavior.
Presence of at least five of nine next criteria
the behavior or its preparation.
and duration of episodes more important than wished initially.
attempts to reduce, to control or to abandon the behavior.
time devoted to prepare episodes, to undertake them, or to
Frequent episodes when the subject has to accomplish
scholastic or university, family or social.
professionals or recreational activities sacrificed, due to
the fact of the behavior.
of the behavior, although the subject knows that it causes or
worsens a persistent or recurrent problem of social, financial
or psychological order.
tolerance: need to increase the intensity or the frequency to
obtain the desired effect, or diminution of the effect
obtained by a behavior of similarly intensity.
or irritability in case of impossibility to reach the behavior.
Some of the elements of the syndrome, have lasted more than a
month or have been repeated during a much longer period.
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current classifications – "DSM – IV" and
"CIM-10" - the addictions without drugs, are badly
listed. We can find them in subclasses as the "Impulses Control
Disorders", "Impulses Control Disorders Not Specified
Elsewhere". The DSM-IV classification
specifies that "the subject does not manage in a
repetitive manner, to resist impetuses that drive him to adopt this
behavior, with a prodromic period of steady tension followed by a
sentiment of relief after the realization of the act". All
these tests show the preoccupation of specialists, to define the new
to Jean Bergeret (3), which in 1981 reintroduced in the french
literature the notion of addiction, this designates the field of
behaviors characterized by repeated acts, in which predominates the
dependence to a situation or to a material object, that is
researched and consumed with 'avidity'.
undertaken by Zuckerman in the 60’s, try to establish a link
between phenomena of psychic activation and the seeking of
sensations. It corresponds to the need of new, complex and varied
experiences, and to the will of taking social and physical risks to
obtain and to maintain a high optimal level of cerebral activation.
scale of sensation research, - Sensation
Seeking Scale - (SSS), includes four factors that
define this phenomenon:
research of danger/adventure - appeal for high risks sports
and behaviors, implying speed and danger.
research of experience - appeal for sensory or intellectual
desinhibition - appeal for alcohol, sexual excess.
susceptibility to lassitude.
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that present a high score, are frequently found among the great
pharmacodependants, the great consumers of alcohol, the great
smokers, authors of risk behaviors. There is a narrow relationship -
but not - specific and not – exclusive, between addictions and
research of sensations.
addiction, there are two periods: the period of initiation which is
centered on the seeking of sensations playing an essential role in
the encounter of the object. The installation of the dependence
appears later, when the use of the object continues under the
influence of adaptive demands linked to anxiety and withdrawal.
order to structure the notions for the acceptance of the cyberaddiction,
it seems necessary to take in account the nature of pleasures
provided and maintained by the addiction, and to think about the
motivations that attract, entail and maintain the subjects in the
spiral of consumption.
cyberdependants, in their efforts to fill an identificatory void,
often came up against imaginary obstacles, with fights that they estimate already
lost or without interest. These situations will inevitable generate
frustrations, anxious phenomena and disorders of behaviors.
Searching for a refuge, a way out to reality, this tendency of
extraction to reality, could become one intimate motivation for
replacement of reality by virtuality becomes the only conceivable
manner to live. According to Ivan K. Goldberg : "Internet,
can determine the negation or the avoidance of other problems of the
courant life". Concerning this, the addiction is not only
the psychological consequence of biological phenomena released by
the consumption of a product causing dependence, but a particular
mode to solve a problem
whose terms depend on factors linked to personality,
cognitive structure and inforcement of the situation (18).
addictive behavior, is the expression of a socio - affective
immaturity that determines the impossibility to construct a real,
solid, psychosocial identity. The situation is amplified by the
coexistence of a personal sentiment of nonvalue and of
not - recognition. They have the sentiment to be alone,
isolated with an incomplete narcissism, condition that bring them to
invest and to grant a virtual narcissism, repairer of their
predepressive anxiety, to different objects and situations that will
be able to generate thereafter different addictives behaviors. This
severe and precocious narcissism default, almost always entails
depressive experiences, against which they have to fight both by the
behavior and by the body (2).
consequences of the consumption of hallucinogens, stated by Claude
Olivenstein in "Steady Document on Drug Addiction" (4),
can be found in the cyberaddicts behaviors : modification of
the lived time and space, modified perception of theirs bodies. Also
he describes a modification of thinking connected with subject
imaginary and his more or less conscient preoccupations.
group of cyberiens, tries to find a family as a preferential affective
environement, where cosmic, erotic and sensual themes, are
preponderant. The consumption of hallucinogens, like addictive
behavior, is accompanied by a relative lucidity before the
accomplishement of the experience. Despite this lucidity, the
subject can not impede the consumption.
appearance of these "New Technologies of
Information and Communication" (NTIC), can
converge with narcotics to a form of hallucinatory perception as in
the dream. The NTIC return visual and auditive stimuli which allow,
with sophisticated technological means - gloves, glasses, overalls -
to reproduce materials texture sensation, temperature, weight,
perhaps even the sensation to shake someone’s hand thousands
kilometersapart. Very elaborated techniques can generate an "increased
reality", mix of reality and virtuality. These experiences have
determined reactions of specialists, some estimating that we risk to
meat experiences of extra - corporal exit (22).
addictive behavior having as object the Internet, is often
accompanied by other behaviors, in complete or partial form, what
makes me think about a polyaddictive behavior.
permanent presence of the communication factor, makes me think to
"Computer Assisted Communication"
and communicationnal addiction. The typical image of
cyberdependants, is persons who have difficulties to communicate,
who have an altered spatio - temporal notion and who are searching
without interruption a means to express their pain to live. That
could be one of the explanations of these long connected hours.
According to Dr Jeffrey
Goldsmith, director of the Alcoholism Clinic - University of
Cincinatti, people with communication difficulties in real life, are
the most susceptible to become dependent to the possibilities of
communications offered by the Web.
field of behaviors is not simply limited to communicationnal
addiction. The great cyberaddicts internautes, also respond to gamblers
criteria. Some of their behaviors present these addictive
characteristics : avidity, extreme pleasure resulting of the
act, dependence, repetition and especially loss of control. The
state that the DSM - IV class among the "Impulse Control
Disorders Not Classified Elsewhere", is characterized by game
concern, tendency to increase the length, incapacity to put a term
to the behavior, impossibility
to resist to
impetuses. Even if we can not speak of a real withdrawal syndrome in
the sense of other pharmacodependancies, some authors would have
found physical manifestations
during the cessation of the behavior.
the ancestor of the IRC - Internet Relay Chat - , was the MUD
- Multiple to Use Dungeons -, a sort of fiction games where
players send different messages and challenges to other players, in
order to collaborate or to confront in a virtual space.
number of games that respond to these characteristics is immense.
Actually, the Net counts approximately 500 sites of games, from the
classic game of arcade, to sophisticated games of role. In France,
two Internet sites proposing virtual games seem susceptible to
develop an addiction to the game.
first game, called "The Second World", realised by Canal
+TV and CryoGames, has as objective the creation of a political
laboratory for virtual democracy. The game consists in a virtual
transposition of the city of Paris. Everyone can choose his
morphology, his skin color,
his identity, but equally its housing, with the possibility to
personalize it. Players 'citoyens', can meet, organize visits
and discussions between them. What seems interesting, is the
electronic vote possibility installed on the Web. The 'citoyens'
are called to decide themselves the political sort of this virtual
second game, "Le Palace", propose frameworks of virtual
life, trades between players. They can also choose their appearance,
situations and virtual life scenes. This kind of games, appeared a
long time ago in the United States, mixing fiction, virtuality, and
ludic, has already generated their 'aficionados',
these unconditionals that
are living in this space, who communicate only by
specially dedicated IRC, their manners of life being
conditioned by the game which occupy them almost all the time.
compulsive buying is an intermittent or permanent
behavior, characterized by an irresistible craving for buying, a
tension before the behavior and its resolution after the realization
of purchases. What is more or less specific for this behavior, is
the ‘act’ compared to the simple ‘possession’ of the object.
report his addictive behavior, because the Internet offers an
immense facility to buy things, with a new connotation : purchase in
live. That has generated in the United States a real social bane,
also called buying spree.
seems important to underline the relation currently established
between our society, that is by definition a consumer society, which
provokes and impulse people using advertising and marketing, and the
individual, unable to resist the impulsive act of a socially
stimulated desire (18). The important number of the cyber -
consumers raise a real question. The game "The Second World ”,
contains everywhere advertising and publicities and offers the
possibility of virtual visit in commercial spaces which permits the
purchases on - line. These are real this time and paid with real
the article of Ph. Spoljar (22), I have found a very interesting
notion, "Computer Assisted Sexuality",
which is able, according to the author, to delete frontiers between
masturbation and sexual report. P. Virilio (28), had in an article
of 1995, used the term of cybersexuality : "we
are inventing a new perspective, the touch perspective, that allows
a sexuality at distance, the
telecopulation. The event is outrageous : until now one
had never been able to touch from a distance. And today, not only
can I touch thousands of kilometers apart with data gloves, but I
can also with a special overall, make love to a girl in Tokyo. Her
impetuses will be transmitted to me by sensors allowing to give and
sexual addiction concept, designates normal and deviant
behaviors, that polarize the subject existence and arouse dependence.
This behavior figures implicitly in the DSM - IV "Control
Disorders of Impetuses". For Reed and Blaine, sexual addictions
are characterized by incapacity to establish a healthy relationship
with the partner, by appearance of derealisation sensations during
the sexual act, by negligence of its entourage, to the profit of its
sexual behavior. For the cybernaute presenting a sexual addictive
behavior, the Internet universe with no barriers or limits, offers
the choice and the possibility of achieving his most intimate
impulses and fantasies.
advent of this new virtual world, is not only the expression of a
deep crisis of the representation, but it concerns the self image
and modifies the existential finality sense. Virtual representations
bring the constraint of living - sometimes of surviving - among
representations of reality rather than reality itself. The Internet
offers the appeals of a perfectly polished, idealized, smooth world,
a stable and protective framework. However, this life framework
permanently in an entropic move, is source of dynamism and
mobilization. The daily communicationnal and ludic activity, unfolds
in an initiate community framework. They possess their own knowledge,
their language and the same representations of the world, what they
have in common is being this new ‘virtual normality’.
would be necessary to wonder if the cyberspace could one
day demand its recognition as a state, with its 37 millions
of internautes that have elected domicile, that live according very
initiatic norms of life, in an artificial way. Trades and contacts
are usually realized through virtual word groups, or in the near
future, through virtual means like gloves, overalls and glasses. The
description of this new world appears in a science-fiction novel,
"The Neuromancien", by W. Gibson (7) : "the
cyberspace is a consensual hallucination lived daily in all
legality by billions of operators. An unthinkable complexity. Rays
of light disposed into the no - space of the spirit, piles of data
constellations”. It is characterized by three words :
acceleration, expansion and interactivity.
goes increasingly rapidly.
creates extreme diversities, from worst to best.
for the first time, the individual has the possibility to control
these notions, linked to continuous movements, in permanent and
rapid evolution, make the World Wide Web (www.) the striking
expression of a change, of a world in full mutant dynamics, that
exhortes immobilism and static representations. This is, another
aspect of Internet, that has an own intrinsic symbolic value, with
an unlimited connotation of free space to conquer and populate, that
joins the notion of infinity, but in the same time associated to a
the ‘70’s, North - Americans scientists were interested by the
virtual world created by computers data-processing. Scientists from
the team of Timothy Leary, director of the Harvard Psychedelic Drug
Research Program, have tried to explore this new world and the
non-standard microsystem. John Lilly, young and brilliant scientist,
written in 1972 a monograph on the brain as stocking unit of all
informations concerning knowledge of the world - "Programing
and Meta-Programming in the Human Bio-Computer". This study, of
pure scientific content, has been almost unseen in the universitary
world, its author was assimilated by some scientists to a young hope
of science -fiction. In this article (13), Timothy Leary,
establishes a connection between the invention of the typography by
Gutenberg in 1456, appearance of the Personal Book and the invention
of Steve Jobs and Steven Wozniak - the Personnel Computer. He
observed that the personal book and the individual computer
appearence has generated passage to a superior level for the human
conscience - which acquires a
quality access to world knowledge, with velocity, possibility of
division - source of revolution in the society. According to him,
the problem of the cyberaddiction take place in a symbiotic
evolution process, in interactivity with the microsystem formed by
the man and the computer. In this process, some individuals are
unable to unhook from the virtual world, unable to live without
continuous exchange of electronic signals between their brain and
scientists got carried away by the general euphoria induced by the
discovery of new virtual worlds, and the scientific possibilities
that could allow the realization of our most unimaginable dreams.
authors wrote the most poignant and the most enthusiastic works. The
appearance and the development of multimedia techniques, of virtual
world, of information superhighways, have fed authors. They saw a
possibility to open and to penetrate the most hidden secrets of the
brain, a possibility to analyze the material, vital and personal
space. Heroes appearing from the virtual space, lots of actions that continued "elsewhere", a quasi
psychedelic world, the entity "man-machine", have
filled cults science-fiction and film works of the ’80’s. One of
the most prolix science-fiction authors, is W. Gibson, author among
others of the scenario of Johnny Mnemonic – virtual celebrity. His
last novel, "Idorú", tells the story of a man that falls
in love with a virtual synthesis presenter of the Japanese
television. He goes mad about "her", without being
conscient that behind the idolized
image, there is only a software. What is interesting is this
have been exploited by the media. Even before the book was published,
a Japanese model agency have created a young synthesised girl with
ideal measurements. Her personality has been entirely constructed,
the date of her birth, culinary tastes and even her imaginary
family.At the moment, due to the media success, she has several
contracts for acting in advertisements.
phenomenon, initially spread over the United States, has found in
France a science-fiction author, Maurice Dantec. In his novel,
"Evil Roots" (4), a man collaborates with his
hypercybernetique machine, endowed with artificial intelligence and
speach, which confers independence and power of analysis, action and
promise of a more evolved artificial intelligence, challenges our
ideas on primordiality of human mind towards
"The Machine". Untill now, the generally
admitted concept, was that human had the decisionnal control. New
research and projects on artificial intelligence developement, are
going to open to all the world inconceivable cybernetic
perspectives, with consequences in science progress, in electronic,
in domotic and also in leisures and virtual world exploration.
the cyberaddictis, it will represent a great crossroads in their
habits. This new technological feat, will change their
representations on the virtual world, which is already now, their
unique center of interest. This concept of virtual reality,
currently exceeds spheres of science-fiction :
"virtual reality is
a world created by computer that changes the senses of the thought.
A virtual glove will be able to give you the feeling to dive your
hand in water, in mud
or in honey. A virtual overall will be able to give you the feeling
of swimming in the water, in the mud or in the honey. The virtual
reality emerges from simulators cockpit used in pilot training of
and will be able to model future multimedia systems. The idea of
virtual reality advanced systems as future substitutes of
sex and drugs, is the new privilege of the modern
science-fiction, cybernetic writing" - Bart Kosko (Fuzzy
Thinking, 1993) (12).
the beginning of the ‘90’s, consecutive to the development of
multimedia techniques and especially the arrival of the Web,
American universitaries have observed, with a real anxiety, an
increasing number of young students presenting signs of this new
form of addictive behavior – the
cyberdependance. There is few articles on the subject
in Europe, but also in the United States and in Canada, even if
North-American associations and universities have very advanced
research programs on addictive behaviors. Informations concerning
these behaviors, are mentionned on
Web pages created by ex - dependents, that try by their own
to help the cyberdependants.
published in North-America by university teachers, reported concrete
cases, who had the full criteria of dependance. Thus, an association
of assistance to cyberdependents created by the American
psychiatrist, Ivan K. Goldberg, display on its Web pages the typical
criteria of the Internet Addiction Disorder ( IAD), modeled
the DSM - IV criteria. The dependance is manifest in the case of a
disproportionate, inadapted use of Internet, driving to a
perturbation, defined by three (or more) of the next criteria, over
a period of at least 12 month.
IV criteria of INTERNET ADDICTION
as defined by either of the following :
A. a need for markedly increased amounts of time
on Internet to achieve satisfaction
diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of
time on Internet
as manifested by either of the following :
A. the characteristic withdrawal syndrome :
of (or reduction) in Internet use that has been heavy and
(or more) of the following, developing within several days to
a month after Criterion
thinking about what is happening on Internet
or dreams about Internet
or involuntary typing movements of the fingers
symptoms in Criterion B cause distress or
impairment in social, occupational or other important other
area of functioning
of Internet or a similar on-line service is engaged in to
relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms .
is often accessed more often or for longer periods of time
than was intended
there is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to
cut down or control Internet use
great deal of time is spent in activitied related to Internet
use (e.g., buying Internet books, trying out new www.browsers,
researching Internet vendors, organizing files of downloaded
social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up
or reduced because of Internet use.
use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or
recurrent physical, social, occupational, or psychological
problem that is likely to been caused or exacerbated by
Internet use (sleep deprivation, marital difficulties,
lateness for early morning appointments, neglect of
occupational duties, or feelings of abandonment in significant
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study of 396 men and women, on-line for an average of 38 hours a
week was presented to the American Psychological Society. Net
addicts are "not only geeky teen-agers," says
psychologist Kimberly Young of the University of
Pittsburgh-Bradford. "Many are outgoing, good-looking and
middle-aged. They can look high-functioning, but there are serious
problems just under the surface". Obsessive Internet users
have a true addiction that can affect their relationships and their
work. All heavy on-line users in her study, met psychiatric criteria
for clinical dependence applied to alcoholics and drug addicts. They
lost control over their Net usage and couldn't end it despite
harmful effects on their personal and professional lives.
predominate in what Young calls "Internet Addiction Disorder".
Community - meeting friends online.
Fantasy - adopting new personalities or playing out sexual
Power - instant access to information and new people.
Brocato, organizer of the IRC conversation space on the theme
of addictive behaviors ( Addictions.Com), thought to find
classic alcohol and drug addicts, but he found out that people into
the IRC showed a problem linked to "Internet Addiction".
told him that he has lost his job due to his ‘Chat Addiction’.
He said, that he couldn't stop. His wife took the kids and left him.
The Chat organizer asked him to send his modem back so that he
couldn't log on. He quickly answered : ABSOLUTELY NOT. So even
after losing his job and family he didn't want to stop. "This
is truly no different then the alcoholic or drug addict that is
unwilling to stop even after losing everything. This is proving to
be a much more serious problem then anyone ever imagined",
David Brocatto says.
case illustrates the situation that we meet in our daily practice
with drug addicts, considering their psychological portrait and the
effects that result from the substance use. These effects could be
an attempt of resolution of a problem, or the repetitious research
of pleasure. It also
leads to a modification of the socio - familly context. We can think
that the subject is ambivalent : from one side, the will to
stop drug and on the other side, the incapacity to control its
impulses. Thus, as underlined Stanton Peele, "..the subject
turn away from all other centers of interest, with the incapacity to
choose not to realize the addictive gesture" (19).
study realized by Bridget Murray, analyzes the phenomenon of
conversations on - line on the Internet Relay Chat - the IRC
-, means of conversation on-line and in real time. The access is
free, conditioned by the simple choice of a pseudonym - guaranteing
a total anonymity. Its creator, the Finnish Jarkko Oikarinen, an
ancient cyberdependent himself, describes the IRC as a bewitching,
preoccupying means of conversation, vector of a false socialization.
The IRC represents a "footbridge from the reality
to the virtuality", avoiding the direct contact in a
'face-to-face’ conversation. The influence of this means of
communication is huge on some of the cyberaddictis, who can spent
hours in front of their screen and keyboards, communicating with
other passionates, almost always to the detriment of their social,
family and professional life. The study, shows the importance of
these artificial passages, that finally allow the installation of
communication without the constraint of a confrontation to reality.
people stay on their computers from midnight 'til the sun comes up",
said Jonathan Kandell, PhD, assistant director of the counseling
center at the University of Maryland-College Park. "It
becomes a downward spiral they get sucked into".
the nickname of the Internet, is the Web. This one, spon 'ad
infinitum', can easily become captivating, absorbing if we approach
examples show the difficulty to treat the addictive behavior.
Psychologists, psychiatrists, agree on the fact that cyberdependents,
each one with his specificity and hispersonality, have the right to
a different regard, to a therapeutic approach adapted case by case.
The experience confirms that the most important step in the recovery,
is the recognition ofhis dependance.
therapist, consider that the most adaptated therapies are analytic
psychotherapies, that use as principal support the verbal language
as resonant expression of the thought.
such language has to be rehabilitated in its functionality. The
function to think, which in the case of cyberaddictis is more
important than the oral expression, has to be reinvested, in order
to restore the real function of the
word. To establish or reestablish solidarity links, mutual
aid and human relationships, will help people to speak about
therapists affirm that it is necessary to help drug addicts to
handle their behaviors by realizing the factors that contribute to
the appearance of the addiction (stress reactions, personnallity
traits...), about effects of their behaviors and to help them to fit
their reactions in a more relevant manner. The resocialisation of
subjects can be realised by the establishment of ex- dependent
internautes direct speaking groups, in 'face to face'. It implies a
system prepared to understand their particular mode of relationship
this subject, North - Americans experiences are complete enough,
with yet a critic concerning the weak importance of individual
therapies compared with group therapies. Their advance is the
creation of Internet sites (can I use the term of substitution ? !)
proposing speaking groups with a therapeutic objective, which can be
used anonymously by cyberdependents. Speaking groups, created by ex
- dependents, families or friends, have the quality and the
advantage to facilitate the dialogue, in a first time by the
interlude of IRC groups and thereafter by encouraging 'face-to-face’
American psychologist, Kathleen Scherer, in collaboration with her
husband, Jacob Kornerup, a computer specialist, create a session of
information and a speaking group in the University of Texas. The
experience was followed by 60 students, that have tried to control
IRC or virtual games connection. This training was followed for some
of them by the suppression of their Internet subscription.
a better evaluation of this experience, Scherer, in collaboration
with Jane Morgan Bost, psychologist in the Mental Health Center of
Texas, organized a cohorte inquiry on 1000 students, some users of
Internet, others not - users. This inquiry had as objective the
establishment of clinic forms of dependency and the assessement of
the psychotherapeutic treatements. The result, paradoxically,
underlines the role and the importance of speaking groups like IRC, treating as theme, dependence and on - line assistance,
but also the role of the educationnel factor, the unique constraint,
being the self-capacity to make the difference concerning the value
of the Internet sites and especially, to control his own limits. The
paradoxe is the utilization of the incriminated factor in the
addictive behavior - the Internet connexion - to fight against this
behavior. This paradoxe is accepted by therapists and also by
American psychologist, Greg Lindahl, has created a group of on -
line assistance, with the description of signs and symptoms of the Internet
Addiction Disorder. During connected discussions about the
Internet Addiction, students
have describied IRC on a very positive manner, as means of passage
from the environmental reality
to the "virtual reality", means that allows to discuss
without 'face-to-face ' confrontation, without taking
physionomie and physical appearance into account; this
situation is clearly explained by a student that considers :
"for those ones cannot communicate otherwise, the IRC will
make the affair".
return to another on - line assistance group, the IAD,
created by the American psychiatrist Ivan K. Goldberg - already
mentioned -, that offers a speaking space, and the criteria of
Internet Addictive behavior ; we can also find the possibility
to auto-evaluate our cyberdependancy and the reasons for recovery.
author of the ‘Internet Stress Scale’, Dr.Orman, assesses
the tendency to become a Net Addict in a nine items test.
Nevertheless, the author of this site uses this means of information
in a personal objective, with a whole list of assistance that are
proposed to sale. This is
another aspect of the Internet, the impossibility to undertake a
valid control on the information.
1. Do you spend more time than you
think you should surfing the 'Net?
2.Do you feel you have a problem
limiting the time you spend on the 'Net?
3.Have any of your friends or family
members complained about the time you spend at your computer?
4.Do you find it hard to stay away
from the 'Net for several days at a time?
5.Has either your work output or
your personal relationships suffered as a result of spending
too much time on the 'Net?
6.Are there particular areas of the
'Net, or types of files, you find hard to resist?
7.Do you have troubling controlling
your impulses to purchase items, products, or services on the
8.Have you tried, unsuccessfully, to
curtail your use of the 'Net?
9.Do you derive much of your
pleasure and satisfaction in life from being on the 'Net’?
you gave 0-3 Yes Answers
probably have very little tendency to become 'Net' addicted :
you gave 7-9 Yes
may very well be addicted to the 'Net’.
you scored 4 yes answers
may or may not have a tendency to become 'Net' addicted
you scored 5 or 6 yes answers
may have a greater chance of developing a problem
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