The Web Doctor Told Me I Am Dead

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You wish, but this is not about me nor does it have to do with me except the person I will be talking about just happens to be in my life. Its 3:16 in the morning, yes this morning, and my wife is getting a phone call from her ex-husband, which she promptly ignores because it is 3:16 in the damn morning. Moments later she gets a text from him, “please call me its an emergency!!!!!!!” For the purpose of this true story we will call her ex “Mike” or “Fucktard” which both will refer to him as this person. This is not Mike’s first 3 in the fucking morning life threatening emergency, only one out of thousands in the last 15 years that my wife and I have been married. Now, before we get to deep I need to plant the Mike seed in your brain so you might understand better how this always goes down. You see, Mike is a hypochondriac with a very severe case of anxiety and depression which leads him to believe he has some deadly disease that is killing him or that everyone around him hates him and wants to kill him. I think the later is true in life more often than not. I don’t personally hate him but I do think he is the perfect example of a rectal fucktard, make that the rectal fucktard poster child, Yea, that’s a better way of describing him. The sad thing about Mike is that he has a very successful high six figure income in charge of 90 plus employees and is very well educated with 3 different Masters in accounting, which is good because he is a corporate accountant (CFO) with the company he works for. Poor dumb bastard is one book smart motherfucker but a real fucktard of a person in real life. Oh, and by the way, he thinks of my wife still as his possession and therefore she is at his disposal 24/7/365.

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Anyway, back to his most recent dilemma. By the time my wife calls him back his is all worked up, crying, deliriously blowing things excessively out of proportion. She has him on speaker so I can enjoy, I can’t begin to thank her enough or go back to sleep. Okay, that’s not entirely true, I did doze off a little in the beginning and missed most of his “symptoms” but once I heard death came for him for real this time the fucktard had my full attention. If y’all are asking why he thinks my wife has expert advice, besides the fact he still worships her, its because she is the office manager for an association of doctors that include family practice, mental health, orthopedics, sleep study, and a handful of others I can’t pronounce, so he believes her to be an authority on most things medical. Which is funny, really, because her degree is in people and financial management, not diagnosing illnesses or treating them, but she plays his game, mostly just letting Mike do ALL the talking. She recommends visiting his PCP 80 to 90 times just in this last crisis alone. She never tries to explain or define things to him, she just listens and tries to sooth the soul of this grossly misguided fucktard. I gotta love her patience and I do admire her for it but I am beginning to think its time to go ahead and cut the cord, but she is too nice and way too accommodating. After roughly an hour she calmed him down, soothing the savage beast within the confines if Mike’s skull and then it was over.

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But was it? Is it really over? Not if I have anything to do with it, now its time to play. Around 6 in the morning I went to his house, I knew he would be heading off to work soon, so now it is my turn. With my best drug dealer moves I went up to him carrying a small paper bag I found on the side of the road, minus the beer can now, and told him I had his answer. Just screw everything you ever read, heard, or what has been told to you, I hold the answer in this brown paper bag. There are 4 capsules, take two right now and two after lunch, and all of your problems will disappear. I told him it was very hush hush and not to tell a soul. He agrees and takes the first two capsules. Quietly I whispered to him it was called Fukitol, the best medicine for whatever ails him. He asks if he should tell his doctor later in the day when he goes to his appointment and I told him it would be a good idea so maybe he can get his own prescription. Then I left, watching him drive into the sunrise. Don’t worry, the capsules are from a gag gift, they are filled with that shit they put in Pixie Sticks. So, a sugar rush is all he will get. He calls me later in the morning to thank me because he feels the best he has felt in 25 years. Just goes to show y’all, a little sugar candy goes a long way in the mind of an anxiety filled hypochondriac. Have a nice day, Mike, have fun at your doctors appointment.

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Note To Self: Just Breathe

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The absolute worst time to have an anxiety panic attack is while you are sitting in a chair with a needle mere millimeters from the vein it is about to puncture. How do I know this? I know this from first hand experience this morning. But, before I get into that and what happened next, y’all might need to catch up a bit by reading “An Attack Of Aichmophobia” which was written by me on 19 December 2013 and can explain a little more why I was having blood drawn in the first place. The blood was to serve a two fold purpose, one to do my Hemoglobin A1C panel for diabetic medication prescription renewals and also to see if I had anything weird going on which might explain me really freaking out around needles. I know, made no sense to me either. Why stick someone with a needle that has been freaking out about being stuck with needles here lately. Needless to say, the blood could not be drawn as requested because I threatened to stick the needle where the sun don’t shine to the technician. I ended up back in my doctor’s office where I was introduced to Klonopin or at least the doctor thought he was introducing us for the first time. I’m real aware of this drug as it is one of the drugs my son takes to try to “control” episodes he has because of being bipolar. I have tried to use some humor in the last post because it has been my way of dealing with the fact that I’m pretty fucking scared at this point in my life. I mean, ask yourself, how can a diabetic get away from sharp objects?

Meanwhile, while sitting in the doctor’s chair, figiting and sweating like a whore in a Catholic confessional, the doctor went over my “symptoms” and any known allergies. By this point I’m agitated, I want to go home, I want to get the hell away from all of this to sort it out. The doctor offered me a small pill and a small sip of water in a very small paper cup. He said to take it so we could continue our conversation. So, I complied, I took the pill. Within a few minutes my mind was clearing up, my focus was coming back, and it seemed like I just might be coming back to my senses. A quick check of my pulse, my blood pressure, and a tiny flashlight in my eye revealed to the doctor that my anxiety attack has come to it’s conclusion. Wow, now that was impressive, it worked almost as well as the calming effects my wife’s cold hands have when she places them on my neck when comforting me. He went on to explain that what I had just taken was 2mg of Klonopin. Within a few minutes I was back in the lab chair with a needle in my arm drawing blood and I could really care less. The only thing I could think of is where is my pain, where is my fear, am I dead. I’m a very firm believer that fear and pain are two very basic elements that ensure our safety and remind us that we are indeed still alive. I felt neither but I did feel scared. I imagine how my son must feel, what must be going on inside his brain as he watches what happens around him. Does it have the same effect on him.

That is that. A short walk down the hallway to meet my wife in her office. After seeing she was in there alone I walked thru the door, closing it behind me, where I sat down in one of the chairs at the front of her desk, all I wanted to do is just breathe. She made no comments about what had happened. If I know her the way I think I know her then nothing will ever be said. She did mention that she would pick up my new prescription on her way home with all the instructions. I leaned in to give her a kiss, not saying a word, and I left. I got into my car and found myself going to work. I have spoken to her since because she called to check up on me. She tried to explain that from now on I will need to take this medication prior to testing and prior injecting until I feel it is all under control like it once was. Will it ever get back under control? Will it ever be the same again? Have I lost what I thought I had control of just days before? I have come to the point that I really have grown to dislike this whole diabetes thing. Seems everyone has a way to kick it’s ass. I wish I could find my way to kick diabetes square in the ass and right out the door. Is this the part when someone tells me that we reap what we sew? Unfortunately I can’t go back in time, nor do I want to either, tomorrow is another day, to be dealt with like any other day I suppose. I just need to remember to breathe.

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What is Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)?

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What is Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)?

  • What “Internet addiction disorder” (IAD) is still difficult to define at this time.  Much of the original research was based upon the weakest type of research methodology,  namely exploratory surveys with no clear hypothesis or rationale backing them. Coming  from an a theoretical approach has some benefits, but also is not typically recognized  as being a strong way to approach a new disorder. More recent research has expanded  upon the original surveys and anecdotal case study reports. However, as I will illustrate  below later, even these studies don’t support the conclusions the authors claim.
  • The original research into this disorder began with   exploratory surveys, which cannot establish causal relationships between specific behaviors and their cause. While surveys can help establish descriptions of how people feel about themselves and their behaviors, they cannot draw conclusions about whether a specific technology, such as the Internet, has actually caused those behaviors. Those conclusions that are drawn are purely speculative and subjective  made by the researchers themselves. Researchers have a name for this logical fallacy,  ignoring a common cause. It’s one of the oldest fallacies in science, and one still regularly perpetrated in  psychological research today.
  • Do some people have problems with spending too much time online? Sure they do. Some people also spend too much time reading, watching television, and working, and ignore family, friendships, and social activities. But do we have TV addiction disorder, book addiction, and work addiction being suggested as legitimate mental disorders in the same category as schizophrenia and depression? I think not. It’s the tendency of some mental health professionals and researchers to want to label everything they see as potentially harmful with a new diagnostic category. Unfortunately, this causes more harm than it helps people. (The road to “discovering” IAD is filled with many logical fallacies, not the least of which is the confusion between cause and effect.)
  • What most people online who think they are addicted are probably suffering from is the desire to not want to deal with other problems in their lives. Those problems may be a mental disorder (depression, anxiety, etc.), a serious health problem or disability, or a relationship problem. It is no different than turning on the TV so you won’t have to talk to your spouse, or going “out with the boys” for a few drinks so you don’t have to spend time at home. Nothing is different except the modality.
  • What some very few people who spend time online  without any other problems present may suffer from is compulsive over-use. Compulsive behaviors, however, are already covered by existing diagnostic categories and treatment would be similar. It’s not the technology (whether it be the Internet, a book, the telephone, or the television) that is important or addicting — it’s the behavior. And behaviors are easily treatable by traditional cognitive-behavior techniques in psychotherapy.
  • Case studies, the alternative to surveys used for many conclusions drawn about online overuse, are just as problematic. How can we really draw any reasonable conclusions about millions of people online based upon one or two case studies? Yet media stories, and some researchers, covering this issue usually use a case study to help “illustrate” the problem. All a case study does is influence our emotional reactions to the issue; it does nothing to help us further understand the actual problem and the many potential explanations for it. Case studies on an issue like this are usually a red flag that help frame the issue in an emotional light, leaving hard, scientific data out of the picture. It is a common diversionary tactic.

Why Does the Research Leave Something to Be Desired?

  • Well, the obvious answer is that many of the original researchers into the phenomenon known as IAD were actually clinicians who decided to conduct a survey. Usually doctoral training is sufficient to create and test a survey, yet the psychometric properties of these surveys are never released. (Perhaps because they were never conducted in the first place? We simply do not know.)
  • The obvious confounds are never controlled for in most of these surveys. Questions about pre-existing or a history of mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), health problems or disabilities, or relationship problems are absent from these surveys. Since this is one of the most obvious alternative explanations for some of the data being obtained (for example, see Storm King’s article, Is the Internet  Addictive, or Are Addicts Using the Internet? below), it is very surprising these questions are left off. It taints all the data and make the data virtually useless.
  • Other factors are simply not controlled for. The current Internet population is nearly 50/50 in terms of proportion of men to women. Yet people are still drawing conclusions about this same group of people based upon survey samples that have 70-80% men, comprised mostly of  white Americans. Researchers barely mention these discrepancies, all of which will again skew the results.
  • Research done in a particular area should also agree about certain very basic things after a time. Years have gone by and there are more than a few studies out there looking at Internet addiction. Yet none of them agree on a single definition for this problem, and all of them vary widely in their reported results of how much time an “addict” spends online. If they can’t even get these basics down, it is not surprising the research quality still suffers.
  • More research has been done since the original surveys were released in 1996. This newer research has been conducted by more independent researchers with clearer hypotheses and stronger, less biased population sets.  More about these studies will be discussed in updates to this article.

Where Did It Come From?

  • Good question. It came from, believe it or not, the criteria for pathological gambling, a single, anti-social behavior that has very little social redeeming value. Researchers in this area believe they can simply copy this criteria and apply it to the hundreds of behaviors carried out everyday on the Internet, a largely pro-social, interactive, and information-driven medium. Do these two dissimilar areas have much in common beyond their face value? I don’t see it.
  • I don’t know of any other disorder currently being researched where the researchers, showing all the originality of a trash romance novel writer, simply “borrowed” the diagnostic symptom criteria for an unrelated disorder, made a few changes, and declared the existence of a new disorder. If this sounds absurd, it’s because it is.
  • And this speaks to the larger problem these researchers grapple with… Most have no theory driving their assumptions (see Walther, 1999 for a further discussion of this issue). They see a client in pain (and in fact, I’ve sat in many presentations by these clinicians where they start it off with just such an example), and figure, “Hey, the Internet caused this pain. I’m going to go out and study what makes this possible on the Internet.” There’s no theory (well, sometimes there’s theory after-the-fact), and while some quasi-theoretical explanations are slowly emerging, it is putting the chicken far before the egg.

Do You Spend Too Much Time Online?

  • In relation to what or whom? Time alone cannot be an indicator of being addicted or engaging in compulsive behavior. Time must be taken in context with other factors, such as whether you’re a college student (who, as a whole, proportionally spend a greater amount of time online), whether it’s a part of your job, whether you have any pre-existing conditions (such as another mental disorder; a person with depression is more likely to spend more time online than someone who doesn’t, for instance, often in a virtual support group environment), whether you have problems or issues in your life which may be causing you to spend more time online (e.g., using it to “get away” from life’s problems, a bad marriage, difficult social relations), etc.  So talking about whether you spend too much time online without this important context is useless.

What Makes the Internet So Addictive?

  • Well, as I have shown above, the research is exploratory at this time, so suppositions such as what makes the Internet so “addictive” are no better than guesses.  Since other researchers online have made their guesses known, here are mine.
  • Since the aspects of the Internet where people are spending the greatest amount of time online have to do with social interactions, it would appear that socialization is what makes the Internet so “addicting.” That’s right — plain old hanging out with other people and talking with them. Whether it’s via e-mail, a discussion forum, chat, or a game online (such as a MUD), people are spending this time exchanging information, support, and chit-chat with other people like themselves.
  • Would we ever characterize any time spent in the real world with friends as “addicting?” Of course not. Teenagers talk on the phone for hours on end, with people they see everyday! Do we say they are addicted to the telephone? Of course not. People lose hours at a time, immersed in a book, ignoring friends and family, and often not even picking up the phone when it rings. Do we say they are addicted to the book? Of course not. If some clinicians and researchers are now going to start defining addiction as social interactions, then every real-world social relationship I have is an addictive one.
  • Socializing — talking — is a very “addictive” behavior, if one applies the same criteria to it as researchers looking at Internet addiction do. Does the fact that we’re now socializing with the help of some technology (can you say, “telephone”?) change the basic process of socialization? Perhaps, a bit. But not so significantly as to warrant a disorder. Checking e-mail, as Greenfield claims, is not the same as pulling a slot-machine’s handle. One is social seeking behavior, the other is reward seeking behavior. They are two very different things, as any behaviorist will tell you. It’s too bad the researchers can’t make this differentiation, because it shows a significant lack of understanding of basic behavioral theory.

What Do I Do If I Think I Have It?

  • First, don’t panic. Second, just because there is a debate about the validity of this diagnostic category amongst professionals doesn’t mean there isn’t help for it. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, help is readily available for this problem without needing to create all this hoopla about a new diagnosis.
  • If you have a life problem, or are grappling with a disorder such as depression, seek professional treatment for it. Once you admit and address the problem, other pieces of your life will fall back into place.
  • Psychologists have studied compulsive behaviors and their treatments for years now, and nearly any well-trained mental health professional will be able to help you learn to slowly curve the time spent online, and address the problems or concerns in your life that may have contributed to your online overuse, or were caused by it. No need for a specialist or an online support group.

In Conclusion…………………………….

This information was forwarded to me by my daughter who is a double Bachelors in Engineering candidate attending college as we speak. One of her elective classes offered a free writing essay for their final exam grade. A grade with is 65% of their overall grade. My daughter chose to write about the theory of Internet Addiction and chose this article by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. as her launching point for her research. Why did she send me this article to read? Probably because I tell her that she spends too damn much time on the internet and the fact the we talk about disabilities every once in a while because there is so much bullshit out there called a disability. I believe this is my daughter’s attempt to humor me, she didn’t say exactly. Funny enough is the fact that she sent it to me but I had sent her the picture below just a few days ago because eventhough she has unlimited data usage on her cell phone plan, she is always taking “Free Wi-Fi ” into consideration when heading out.

What do you, the reader on the internet right now, think about studying internet addiction?

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