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China could become first nation to make Internet addiction a medical disorder

China is expected to become the first country in the world to officially classify internet addiction as a mental disorder.  Chinese government officials would be required to register the term with the World Health Organization, which has seen an increased interest in internet- and game-related addiction.

Around 253 million of China's 1.2 billion population use the internet, with the number expected to grow as remote parts of the country build necessary infrastructure to support the internet.

Dr. Tao Ran studied at least 3,000 patients over a four-year period to help him classify internet addiction, which will be a condition similar to alcoholism or compulsive gambling.  

A person who spends at least 6.13 hours online each day can be considered an addict.  InterActiveCorp research indicates 42 percent of young internet users feel they are addicted to the internet, while only 18 percent of American youth feel they are addicted.

Around 50 percent of internet users in China are between the ages of 18 and 30.

Due to the exploding popularity of online video games, the government has urged game makers to create safeguards to better protect gamers.

"We took symptoms that appeared at the same time in more than 50 percent of patients and then we noted how frequently these same symptoms were repeated," he told the Times Online.  "China finds itself at the forefront of this research because we were among the earliest to set up clinics ... we had a sufficient sample of patients so that we could carry out proper scientific analysis.

Special psychiatric units could be created in Chinese hospitals to help people who are said to be internet addicts.

Even if internet addiction does not become an official disorder, psychologists are expected to continue researching possible addicts, and how to treat it.

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RE: What a load...
By jimpaka on 11/12/2008 12:18:06 PM , Rating: 3
For anyone who thinks the concept of an internet addiction is bullshit, you're right, it is. This is a perfect example of a government brainwashing its citizens by casting a shadow over some kind of human activity (that does little harm to others) because of its own agenda. It's in China's best interests to keep the people ignorant.

The notion of human 'addiction' has been so grossly beaten to death in western culture alone, that we as a society fear anything that the authorities label an 'addiction' as if it were a disease! Just look at drug issues in the states. Who ever talks about caffeine addiction? Of course they don't, because it's a legal drug that arguably keeps the working class working. Cigarette addiction? Sure plenty of people are trying to quit, but it's not an addiction or a disease, it's just a habit that some consider bad. As soon as you mention marijuana, LSD, MDMA, the general reaction is one of fear because apparrantly these substances lead very quickly to a disease called addiction. It's pathetic. Government shouldn't exist to lead a culture but to organise and help the community that elected it.

RE: What a load...
By Murloc on 11/12/2008 1:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
Chinese world of warcraft farmers and powerlevelers? aren't they addicted?
Some have bots, but I spoke with a chinese farmer once, and he really was addicted.

RE: What a load...
By nosfe on 11/12/2008 1:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
its not addiction for them, its a job, i know, the difference is subtle

RE: What a load...
By Samus on 11/12/2008 7:39:16 PM , Rating: 4
I think any form of web surfing time should be excluded entirely from being considered an addiction. As said, it's just another form of media.

However, spending 10+ hours a day on WoW, CS or Evercrack is another story...

RE: What a load...
By Regs on 11/14/2008 8:29:31 AM , Rating: 3
Soon, I hope, the noble people of China will stand up and over-throw their commi government. China has 1.9 trillion dollars on reserve with people living in shacks and 4 x4 boxes. Most of their country outside of metropolitan areas don't even have running water.

Just one of the reasons why the global economy is sinking. Money hogs and corrupted governments; pleaces we're spending our money on with no return investment.

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