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Lawrence Rubin Ph.D, ABPP, LMHC, RPT-S

Blogaholism-Is It In You?

Do you suffer from an unrelenting desire to blog?

Has blogging become too big a part of your life? Do you wake up in the middle of the night in order to write down an irrepressible idea to share with the blogosphere, which you believe to be sitting at the edge of its collective screen, awaiting your next offering? Do you believe that what you have to say is of critical importance to mankind? Do you count the number of hits to your most recent post and are you jealous of those who have more views or posts to their blog than you do?  Do you spend more time blogging, rather than talking about your day? Do you know where all the Dunkin Donuts and Starbuck's wireless cafes are on your way to work...the gym...your child's school...anywhere? If the answer is yes to these questions, you may very well be a blogaholic

According to the DSM IV-TR , the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (2000, APA Press), there are distinct sgins and symptoms of substance (blogging, in our case) abuse.  These include:

1. Recurrent blog use resultling in a failure to fullfil major role obligations at work, school or home.
2. Recurrent blog use in situations in which it is physically (or emotionally) hazardous (driving and/or making love).
3. Continued blogging use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused by or exacerbated by the effects of blogging.

The DSM, also provides criteria for determining whether you blogaholism has become a dependence disorder.  These include:

1. Tolerance, ie., a need for markedly increased amounts of blogging to achieve the desired effect.
2. Withdrawl, ie., the characteristic withdrawl symptoms such as:
    a. blogging for longer periods of time and in greater
        quantity in order to achieve that sense of 'relief'.
    b. a persisitent desire or unsuccessful efforts to
        cut down or control blogging use.
    c. spending a great deal of time in acitivties necessary to blog (obsessively checking your bandwidth).

While the above is somewhat toungue-in-cheek, as there is no 'real' mental illness called 'blogaholism', the above references to the DSM IV-TR are real, as is the general wording for the various criteria of substance abuse and dependence. Nevertheless, it is important to reflect on the popularity of this popular culutre phenomenon and ask ourselves, "at what point do our interests, passions and pasttimes cross over into that shadowy zone that separates normal and pathological?

In their 2008 'State of the Blogosphere' , Internet search engine ' Technorati ', noted that "blogs are pervasive and part of our lives". Quoting three independent sources of blog-statistics, they offered the following mind-numbing figures:

ComScore MediaMetrix (August 2008)
Blogs: 77.7 million unique visitors in the US
Facebook: 41.0 million | MySpace 75.1 million
Total internet audience 188.9 million

eMarketer (May 2008)
94.1 million US blog readers in 2007 (50% of Internet users)
22.6 million US bloggers in 2007 (12%)

Universal McCann (March 2008)
184 million WW have started a blog | 26.4 US
346 million WW read blogs | 60.3 US
77% of active Internet users read blogs

So, what do we have to say about this;  "sure,'s the other guy..he's the one hooked on's not me!  I have far more important things to do than pontificate wildly on the Internet, and even if I did, it would be 'really' important, not like that drivel that everyone else is blogging about." Does this sound like you? Denial runs deep, doesn't it?!

I prefer to keep this particular posting to my blog light and fun, at least for now.  Psychology has historically been ponderously heavy, and before the advent of Positive Psychology , it focused far more upon the deficits in us and the deficient among us.

So, on this note, I offer you the following encouraging words...hope and help are out there.  Johnathan Deamer offers us some humorous tips for identifying whether or not you are a blogaholic.  And if you would like a little fun guidance for dealing with your possible blogaholism, here is an unofficial  guide to a 12 Step Recovery Program from Blogaholism .   Blog On!