Technology addiction is a fairly common condition in modern society. Our attachment to smartphones, laptops, and BlackBerries is growing by the day, and resulting in horrific consequences. For example, a 17-year-old in Ohio shot his father and injured his mother after they confiscated his video games. Similarly, a 20-year-old suffered lung blockage and died after playing video games for over 12 hours daily last year.

For accountability, people are increasingly turning to technology executives, who are responsible for making these devices and games. Recently, the co-founder of an online game company that has made millions profiting from its users’ addiction to games, claimed that he helped addict millions to dopamine, a neurochemical that pleasures and addicts. Moreover, he said that people already craved dopamine, a fact that was evident with consumer tastes for pleasurable activities such as good food or ice cream. 

Even as the argument over who is responsible for this form of addiction continues, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) has already taken a step forward towards its treatment by recommending Internet-use disorder as a condition "for further study" for its May 2013 edition. In simple words, the organization has moved Internet addiction a step closer to classification. 

About the author: Alan Fisch is Director of Psychiatry at Addiction Medicine Associates in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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