"The Internet problem is still in its infancy," said lead study author Elias Aboujaoude, a psychiatrist and director of the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford. No single online activity is to blame for excessive use, he said. "They're online in chat rooms, checking e-mail every two minutes, blogs. It really runs the gamut. [The problem is] not limited to porn or gambling" Web sites....Uh-oh, I'm sensing convoluted recovery-movement styles of deploying power. I'm siding with the guy who says you can't be addicted to an environment.
Excessive Internet use should be defined not by the number of hours spent online but "in terms of losses," said Maressa Hecht Orzack, a Harvard University professor and director of Computer Addiction Services at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., founded in 1995. "If it is a loss [where] you are not getting to work, and family relationships are breaking down as a result around it and this is something you can't handle, then it's too much."
Since the early 1990s, several clinics have been established in the United States to treat heavy Internet users. They include the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, in Bradford, Pa., and the Connecticut-based Center for Internet Behavior....
(Bonus gripe: I've had it with "Caught in the Web" as a headline for articles about the internet.)
ADDED: La Shawn Barber has this post on internet addiction... with lots of comments.
AND: Eugene Volokh raises the alarm about an even more widespread problem: Communication Addiction! All I can say is that I take some solace in our society's brilliant success at stemming the spread of Thinking Addiction. This rare but distastrous disease can be hard for friends and family to detect as the sufferers may appear to be doing nothing at all or to be engaged in some relatively innocuous activity such as walking or doodling. These addicts fall prey to a dangerous sense of well-being or euphoria; they crave more and more time to think, often to the exclusion of family and friends; they may feel empty, depressed or irritable if they don't have time to think; often they lie to employers and family about activities -- e.g., "What are you thinking about?" "Nothing."; they have trouble stopping thinking; and this thinking may even interfere with school and work.