Those who follow the news know that the Internet has provided lots of opportunities for misbehavior, from “sexting” to cyberbullying. TechHive suggests that eight distinct mental disorders have resulted from the Internet.
None of the following disorders existed before the Clinton administration.However some of them are versions of very old mental disorders,
Phantom Ringing disorder: “When your brain punks you into thinking your phone is buzzing in your pocket.” Of course hearings things that aren’t there is a malady that is older than cell phones, especially voices as the UK Mental Health Foundation states.
Nomophobia: “The anxiety that arises from not having access to one’s mobile device. The term ‘Nomophobia’ is an abbreviation of ‘no-mobile phobia.’ This and other kinds of anxiety disorders also predates cell phones,
Cybersickness: “The disorientation and dizziness some people feel when interacting with certain digital environments.” Disorientation and confusion can also happen in other unfamiliar situations and can be prevalent in the elderly.
Facebook Depression: “Depression caused by social interactions, or lack thereof, on Facebook.”We used to call this social anxiety disorder, though the Internet allows us to feel it without actually having contact with actual people.
The next two are somewhat related, as they involve addiction.
Internet Addiction Disorder: “A constant and unhealthy urge to access the Internet.”
Online Gaming Addiction: “An unhealthy need to access online multiplayer games.” More traditional forms of addiction involve alcohol and drugs.
Cyberchondria: “The tendency to believe you have diseases you read about online.”Traditionally hypochondria doesn’t require the prompting of the Internet to manifest,
The Google Effect: “The tendency of the human mind to retain less information because it knows that all answers are only a few clicks away.” This is opposed to the tendency to not retain information due to the failed to pay attention.
In short, some of these are no doubt related to more familiar disorders, but with it being played out online. The takeaway from all of this is that while the Internet is providing people with more opportunity to do foolish or even evil things, it is providing lots of opportunities for work by mental health professionals. Leaving aside government policies that inhibit the number of doctors, the Internet and modern communications will likely make psychiatry a growth industry for some time to come.