Disconnection Anxiety

Dr Shock wrote a recent post in reaction to Engadget’s article about a study by Solutions Research Group. They’ve “discovered” a new anxiety disorder: disconnection anxiety.

Disconnect Anxiety refers to various feelings of disorientation and nervousness experienced when a person is deprived of Internet or wireless access for a period of time.

Overall, our research finds that 27% of the population exhibit significantly elevated levels of anxiety when disconnected. In terms of profile, 41% of this group are 12-24, 50% are 25-49 and 9% are over the age of 50.

Dr Shock scoffingly responds:

Medicalizing adaptation to new developments again. I won’t be surprised if they come up with cognitive behavioral therapy for disconnection anxiety.

I wouldn’t be surprised either. However, unlike Endgadget and Dr Shock, I’m not so critical. People only seek out therapy if they feel their disorder is causing them significant distress. Why would they bother spending hours in therapy if it didn’t affect their lives in a significant way? If a treatment for a generalized disconnection disorder is in demand… why not offer it?

Engadget jokes therapy should be a hefty dose of sunshine. I don’t see why not. Just like internet addiction and video game addiction before it, it would be reasonable to include disconnection anxiety in the next version of the DSM.

The information era ushered in a wave of change for our youthful generations. I’m fairly certain I was addicted to mmorpgs in my adolescence. As time trudges forever forward we need diagnostic criteria that adapt to changing stressors and environments. If people are willing to undergo therapy for their internet addiction, video game addiction, or disconnection anxiety, then we should certainly offer it to them.

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2 Responses to “Disconnection Anxiety”


  1. 1 Dr Shock March 29, 2008 at 1:43 am

    Or it could be worse if they decided to try SSRIs for disconnection anxiety. Regards,
    DrShock

  2. 2 theneurotic April 1, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Very true. Though, I’d expect them to try the typical anxiolytics like the benzodiazapines first =). Thanks for your response.


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