Goodman (1997) described seven criteria for an addictive disorder:

1. Tolerance – increased amount or intensity of behaviour to achieve the desired result or diminished effect from behaviour at the same level of intensity.

2. Withdrawal – Psycho-physiological withdrawal symptoms or the engagement of similar activities to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

3. Behaviour engaged over a longer period, in greater quantity, or at a higher intensity.

4. “Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to…control the behaviour.”

5. Time spent in preparing, engaging and recovering from the effects of the behaviour.

6. Reduced social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the behaviour.

7. Behaviour continues even through it is acknowledged to be a ‘problem’

I can think of situations where MySpace/Facebook/MSN/Etc. can easily satisfy each of these criteria. A very troubling thought indeed…