Jon Gordon interviewed psychiatrist Jerald Block on his Future Tense program this morning. Block wants to define compulsive computer use as a mental disorder. Some of the symptoms he cites are:
- Seeking psychiatric help
- Excessive – 25-30 a week for entertainment purposes
- Mood symptoms when not able to access computer
- Needing more expensive equipment and/or software on a frequent basis
Three out of four makes me a likely candidate for diagnoses. Though I haven’t sought psychiatric help for my computer use, I do spend at least 30 hours a week using my computer. Granted, most of my computer use is for work, not strictly entertainment, as Block qualified, but my work is extremely entertaining to me, so….? I do get cranky when I don’t have access. Check. And I do love new technology and want better better better better. Check.
Still. A mental disorder? C’mon.
Don’t get me wrong, mental illnesses are real and real serious but this just sounds like a way for one guy to make a career for himself. It’s a sexy, media-friendly topic for which, I’m sure, a large percentage of the public qualifies.
Though I’m extremely skeptical of Block’s idea, I have no doubt that extended computer use changes how your brain works. It’s pretty well established that the brain can rewire itself, as it were, in response to some obstacle.
So why wouldn’t the brain change the way it works based on how it is used?
In high school I was into music big time, played in bands, and was always writing lyrics and thinking about music. I could rhyme on a dime; much like the free-form hip-hop artists do today. My brain thought in rhymes.
Since I began working almost exclusively online, I swear my ability to recall facts and statistics has been shattered. I am so very bad at retaining that type of knowledge because I can always look it up online if I need it. My brain doesn’t need to store those things anymore.
But when I was a kid, I had a near photographic memory because I
could recite statistics and facts from the back of the
baseball cards I collected. I spent a lot of time reading and looking
But mental illness?
[…] developer I work with sent me this link. Under that definition, I might qualify as mentally ill too, for the same reasons as the author of […]