From Neil Beynon [via Twitter] I discover that not even The Guardian – supposedly the final bastion of vaguely idiocy-free journalism in the UK – is gleefully running a “scientist says internet addiction is a disease!” article, complete with a “how to spot whether you’re hooked on the intartubes!!” checklist.
Good grief. Is there any aspect of human behaviour that isn’t a disease these days?
Look, I’m not demeaning the sometimes serious illnesses that can result from certain mental imbalances. Nor would I try to claim that there aren’t people who have serious addictions to many things, the internet being one of them – addictions which can indeed cause serious impairment to their lives.
My issue is this.
ADDICTION IS NOT A DISEASE. ADDICTION IS ADDICTION. ADDICTION IS A FUNCTION OF HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY.
I REPEAT – ADDICTION IS NOT A DISEASE. YOU CANNOT CATCH AN ADDICTION FROM SITTING NEXT TO ANOTHER ADDICT ON THE TUBE. UNTIL WE STOP TREATING ADDICTION AS A DISEASE AND START VIEWING IT AS AN UNDERSTANDABLE REACTION OF AN EASILY DISTRACTED PRIMATE BRAIN THAT EVOLVED TO RESPOND TO NOVELTY AND STRONG STIMULI, WE WILL SLOWLY DROWN IN “ILL” PEOPLE UNTIL THERE ARE NO “WELL” PEOPLE LEFT.
IF YOU WANT TO HELP PEOPLE WITH ADDICTIONS, THEN START BY FINDING OUT WHAT MOTIVATES THEM TO ABSORB THEMSELVES IN THEIR SUBSTANCE OR BEHAVIOUR OF CHOICE TO THE DETRIMENT OF THEIR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES. BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE SEEMS TO DICTATE PRETTY CLEARLY THAT SLAPPING THE STIGMA OF A DISEASE ON THEM AND TELLING THEM IT’S ALL THE FAULT OF THOSE NASTY GENES ISN’T DOING ANY BLOODY GOOD AT ALL, IS IT?
PEOPLE DEVELOP ADDICTIONS BECAUSE MODERN LIFE IS HOLLOW. STOP BEING HOMEOPATHIC – TRY TREATING THE ACTUAL DISEASE INSTEAD OF THE BLOODY SYMPTOMS.
Sometimes the rampant technophobia and litigatory idiocy our culture is saturated in really gets right up my nose.
The Guardian should be bloody ashamed of themselves for running sensationalist shit like this, blatantly shilling for a money-grabbing organisation that can see brass in the muck of people’s misery.
[ Don’t take it personally, Neil – you just tripped one of my switches there.
And anyone who’d like to know what gives me the right to make sweeping statements about the effectiveness of addiction programs is welcome to email me privately, so I can explain to them – among other things – how my father died. ]