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December 1, 2005

US is now an internet addict

Anything China can do, the US was bound to attempt to do better. Following recent reports that the Chinese government is concerned about so-called internet addiction, US experts have claimed that one in 10 users are hooked on the web.

By CBR Staff Writer

Experts estimate that there are around 19 million American internet junkies who apparently suffer the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin users.

Web addicts are described as spending many hours a day online, hooked on chat rooms, instant messaging, or blogging, researchers found.

The Proctor Hospital in Illinois is admitting patients to recover from obsessive computer use and doctors said they see similar signs of withdrawal to those found in alcoholics or drug addicts – including profuse sweating, severe anxiety and paranoia.

In Pennsylvania cyberwidow support groups have been set up for partners of those having online affairs, treatment for addiction to auction site eBay and behavioral counseling to help clients wean themselves off the web.

However, other professionals argue that internet addiction is merely a new platform for other pathologies such as gambling or obsession with pornography.

There’s also an economic argument that internet addiction is costing the US bottom line. Business consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimate that online American fantasy football alone was costing US employers $200 million in lost productivity every season.

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