Internet use disorder will be listed in the new edition of the DSM

    It's official. After months of debate and study, the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) will include "internet use disorder" as an area "recommended for further study." The fifth edition of the DSM, the standard for classifying and diagnosing mental illness, is due out in May 2013, and the consideration of including internet addiction has raised many eyebrows.

    This doesn't mean you'll be sent to a psychologist's couch if you spend a couple hours online every day. However, it does mean that there will likely be more investigations into why and how people spend so much time on the internet. It is possible that it will become classified as a diagnosable mental illness in the future.

    There is research showing that the internet can indeed act like a drug, and use of social networks has been linked with depression. Even the leaders of many popular online games and networks have recognized the importance of unplugging on occasion. But the idea of a professional organization attempting to codify and criticize something that feels so personal as time spent surfing the web has understandably given some folks the creeps. We'd recommend that you take honest stock of your online time. If it's not interfering with your work or personal life, you're probably not going to be diagnosed as an addict any time soon.