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Shrinks May Make Internet Addiction Official

But the proposed introduction of "new" mental illnesses to the DSM psychiatrists' bible is highly controversial.


Would going official help or hinder internet
"addicts"? Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda


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The DSM—AKA the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, or the Psychiatric Bibleis considering adding internet addiction to its defining list of mental illnesses. The new edition, the DSM-5, is scheduled to be published next year and is keenly awaited by mental health professionals. Besides (possibly) internet addiction, it will also include "disorders" such as “oppositional defiant disorder” and “apathy syndrome”: both behaviors that many believe to be normal. The American Psychiatric Association (APA), which publishes the manual, has attracted criticism for the proposed inclusion of internet addiction from those who worry about the effect of labeling millions more people as mentally ill, possibly leading to the unnecessary prescribing of psychiatric drugs. "Many people who are shy, bereaved, eccentric, or have unconventional romantic lives will suddenly find themselves labeled as mentally ill," says Peter Kinderman, head of Liverpool University's Institute of Psychology. "It's not humane, it's not scientific, and it won't help decide what help a person needs." Over 11,000 health professionals have signed an online petition online condemning the proposed changes to the manual.

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