- PSYCHOLOGISTS say computer
nerds hooked on surfing the Internet are mentally ill and need medical
- That means those who spend more than four hours a day
on the Net could soon be treated on the NHS like alcholics and gamblers.
- Top Brussels health advisers say new evidence shows constant
surfing creates high brain levels of the drug dopamine, an adrenalin-like
chemical linked to gambling fever.
- Now the EU psychologists are warning Scots GPs to brace
themselves for a wave of new patients suffering from addiction to the Internet.
- Stars like David Bowie and Keanu Reeves have already
admitted to surfing binges. Bowie gets up at 5am every day so he can cram
in four hours online.
- But it is the growing number of ordinary surfers with
access to home computers who are causing most concern.
- The spread of cheaper and easier ways to use computers
means that an increasing number of housewives and older people are getting
- The psychologists base their fears on alarming real-life
case studies. One Florida mum recently lost her children in a court custody
battle because she couldn't keep off the computer.
- Experts say up to 400,000 Brits may develop Internet
addiction in the new Millennium. A recent study of young people in the
UK revealed that the problem often starts at college, where one in 10 students
surf the net for up to 229 minutes a day.
- Dr Kimberely Young, a lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh
who is advising Brussels scientists, said: "Until recently, it was
regarded by some psychologists as a joking matter. But the increasing number
of divorces in which it is cited as a cause of family break-up has changed