15 May 2014

Internet Addiction

Technology is the primary driver of change in our modern society. The invention of the personal computer and the internet have pushed how we acquire, process and share information in ways beyond imaginable 30 years ago. Do you think the original creators of the so-called "super computers" of the 1970s ever thought that the average person would be sending silly emails to loved ones, continents apart? By extension, could they have believed that I am writing this sentence from a device that fits in the palm of my hand, as compared to the first computers that took up a million times the space, with only one millionth (1/1,000,000) the processing power?  

As a child in the 90s, my grandmother let us play with the 
very first Pong console. Compare those graphics versus a 
modern day neurofeedback training screen. Don't even try to
 compare the instantaneous processing power between these two devices.

With all big leaps come unforeseen changes. It took decades to fully understand the impact of the television's contributions to health and society, by promoting sedentary and closed-in lifestyles.  We are only now learning about the impact that the computer, internet, and by extension tablets and smart phones, are having on the way we interact with others. The devices give us access to an endless stream of diversions, but at what potential cost? When we are focused on our screens, are we missing out on what is going on around us?

"Look Up", a spoken word film by Gary Turk explores this phenomenon.
It has received over 37 million views to date.

Internet addiction, and by extension digital addiction (smart phones, tablets), is the name given to a new condition for overuse of internet and digital devices, to the point where the individual feels distress. Whether this is truly a disorder, or simply a new outlet for those with depression, anxiety and social isolation is unsure, it evidently shares many commonalities with substance abuse issues. The DSM-V does not include internet as a behavioural addiction however it is recognized in other parts of the world such as South Korea and China. Dr. Jerald J. Block, M.D. explores the topic in a recent article on Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The BFE has invited Dr. Paul Swingle to give a 1-hour webinar presentation on Internet Addiction, where he will share his experience assessing and treating this behavioral issue. Using his simple ClinicalQ neurofeedback assessment method, he will describe underlying causes and susceptibilities of those he deems to be internet addicts. Dr. Swingle will also review the neurofeedback intervention to pursue with such cases.

Dr. Swingle's Internet Addiction Webinar
Date: May 27, 2014
Time: 3:00-4:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Any clinician looking to enter the field of neurotherapy would greatly benefit from Dr. Swingle's ClinicalQ & BrainDryvr method, which gives a simple, easy to interpret roadmap for neurofeedback assessment and training. Visit the BFE website to learn more. 

For further reading on this topic:
Should DSM-V Designate “Internet Addiction” a Mental Disorder?


In the latest issue of our online journal Psychophysiology Today, Dr. Erik Peper touches on the subject of device use in his article Support Healthy Brain Development: Implications for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It also contains abstracts from the Scientific Day at the BFE Annual Meeting in Venice where Mari K. Swingle, Ph.D. spoke about Addiction in the 21st Century: EEG Profiling of Internet/Digital Addiction.

Click here to download the latest issue from our website.

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