March 28th, 2008
06:02 PM ET

E-mail addiction a sign of mental illness?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Before you sit down to write in to the Cafferty File, think about this: sending excessive e-mails and text messages could be a sign of mental illness – and some of you are on the margin. An editorial in The American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that these obsessive-compulsive symptoms are now so common that they should be included in an industry manual on mental disorders.

Here's how to tell if you need help:

– Excessive use, which often goes along with a loss of any sense of time when you're online.

– Withdrawal, which includes feelings of anger, tension or depression when you can't get to a computer.

– The need for a better computer, more software and even more hours of use.

– And, negative repercussions, which can include arguments, lies, and social isolation all due to your time spent online.

In South Korea, which has the highest use of broadband internet worldwide, internet addiction is considered one of the most serious public health issues. The government estimates that more 210,000 children are affected and need treatment, and another 1.2 million are believed to be at risk for addiction. In China, it's believed that nearly 14% of adolescent internet users are addicted... that's 10 million Chinese youngsters.

So it comes as no surprise that there are now internet addiction clinics around the world. Experts say it's also become a more significant legal issue in criminal, divorce and employment cases.

Here’s my question to you: Is sending excessive e-mails and text messages a sign of mental illness?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jack from Somerset, Kentucky writes:
Jack, I have a 13-year-old grandson. We always enjoyed doing things together. He would listen to all my war stories and other lies with great zeal. Then he got a cell phone. Now he is insane.

Ralph from Long Island writes:
I’ll send you another comment on this topic 30 minutes after I take my medication.

Joe writes:
I don't have a problem. I can stop at any time. Really.......

Jim from Westchester County, NY writes:
Jack, I find it to be a strategy more than an illness. I would rather deal with matters in real time versus letting them pile up. Working in real time provides me with a more mobile lifestyle and actually allows me to spend more time with my family.

Stu writes:
People who use e-mail are crazy and eat their babies. It's true.

Mark from Berry, Kentucky writes:
Jack, This is my 137th answer to this question and the answer is still “No.”

Dave from Canada writes:
Oh, Jack. I just had to put down my burger, fries and bourbon to respond to this question. If I didn't write so many e-mails, I just wouldn't get any exercise at all during the day. Does sending you this e-mail mean I have a mental illness? Of course not. No more so the Cafferty Shrine I built in the secret room in my house.
David writes:
Jack, Are those internet addiction clinics offered on-line?

K. from Tacoma, Washington writes:
People who have "mental illness" are capable of making anything into a bad habit! We like to e-mail because it utilizes typing and office skills, along with composing letters and using the other side of the brain. It’s a positive exercise on a daily basis. But to the extent that it interferes with daily chores, errands, and the natural business, of running our lives? I would have to say no, e-mail takes a back seat, of course.

Joe in Ohio writes:
I thought watching Fox News caused mental illness.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (284 Responses)
  1. Terry from Calif

    Well Jack if that is true, then the majority of Americans are mentally ill. Come to think about it, just responding to this blog is causing my mental state of well being to fade.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Patricia

    Well, if it is, I have it.

    Like any compulsive behavior, it depends on degrees. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I guess if you lose your job and your relationships, you'd better have a look at it.

    Moreso, staying in contact with friends and family on a constant basis is a sign of the changes in our society. Instead of having several generations living under one roof, running the family farm or other business, we lead pretty solitary lives. We crave closeness–a connectedness–that is one of the nicer human qualities. Oh, sorry...I have a text message.

    Boise, ID

    March 28, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  3. IFEANYI AZUBIKE Houston, Texas

    No jack, sending excessive Email is only a sign of the times. Stripped of jobs, gas, and money the option left is to find a hobby or make babies and thank God they are opting for the less costly option.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  4. Martin, Roselle NJ

    Jack are you serious? If sending E-mails is a mental illness why pose these questions that you do? Why do we reply to them? I guess we are both sick.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  5. jack. jacksonville, fl

    if so then that means everyone who responds to this is brain damaged, right?

    March 28, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  6. James in Cape Coral, FL

    If your doing it while your driving, when you should be paying attention to the road, then yes. There must be something wrong in your head if you believe your special and have the ability to safely drive and use your phone or computer at the same time. These people are not beautiful or unique snowflakes they are careless halfwits and when they kill someone due to their carelessness they should be subject to the same laws any murderer faces.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  7. Ron Kepics

    Hi Jack:

    Most definately. So why do you ask so many nutty questions on your blog?

    Ron K San Diego

    March 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Keith - Twinsburg, OH

    Only while you're driving...

    Excessive is relative term... For some, it's a way of life, now...

    For me, it's a great way to let you know that I'm here most every day and watching the "Situation Room"..

    Love your work, Jack..

    March 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  9. Brian

    It's not a mental addiction...and if you say anything about it again I'm going to virus bomb the CNN email addresses (just kidding, NSA).


    March 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  10. Dave Brooklyn, NY

    I don’t think so. Just a minute, I have to check my mailbox. It is not a sign of mental illness because, Just a minute, I have to check my mailbox, darn this computer is so slow. It is no different than, Just a minute, I have to check my mailbox is it six o’clock already? Ah, than playing the ponies, Just a minute, I have to check my mailbox. Or, ah, having a few drinks now and then. Just a minute, I have to check my mailbox I wish you’d stop asking these questions so I could spend more time checking my SPAM.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  11. Scott, Montana


    No it is not a sign of mental illness. But it is a sign of being highly socially dysfunctional. The streets are full of drivers with cell phones glued to the sides of their heads, the check out lines in the stores are full of people yakking or texting on cell phones and at home, these same people sit down to their computers and attempt to melt down the keyboards in a flurry of emails. There needs to be one day a year when no one can send an email or a text or make a cell phone call and then all these techno-morons would be forced to actually have face-to-face interactions with other human beings, Unfortunately, those people have probably already lost the ability to do that.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  12. Mark - Asheville, NC

    Nonsense. E-mail is the greatest invention since sliced bread. They make it possible to communicate with someone without bothering them when they are busy – they can read and respond at their own convenience. Plus, e-mail eliminates long distance fees. A perfect invention!

    Now those persons who feel they must use their cell phones constantly, who call people every five minutes to report the most banal occurances, who annoy others by talking loudly into them in libraries, restaurants, and other public places; yeah, they are wacko.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  13. Mary - Santee CA

    I don't know if it is a mental illness. However, I find it can become an obsession. I have a grandson whose mother had to take his texting away because it was interfering with the time he should have been spending on his homework.. In moderation, as with anything, is the best way to go.

    Mary – Santee CA

    March 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  14. Keith

    I'm not mentally ill, Jack... Am I? Anymore questions today? Please, please, please. LMAO

    March 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  15. Bob from Traverse city Michigan

    Jack even if you don't use what I send you (you did last night thank you thank you) and even if no body reads what I post, I get to put my opinion out there for the world to take or leave. I think that is very healthy.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  16. Amy in Woodstock, NY

    I am not sure if it is a sign of mental illness. But it sure is a major contributing factor to short term memorization and distraction. How else has the term "soundbite" become such a credible term in this generation?

    March 28, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  17. Jamaal Kansas CIty Ks

    Scienctist have to much time on there hands in stead of working on a cure for Aids, Cancer, Diabetes and other important Disease they are waistin time and taxpayers money on stupid research i know news is slow today but please ask questions that matter to American Taxpayers Hint (gas Prices)!

    March 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  18. Diane/Allentown, PA

    No Jack, but receiving them sure should be. Imagine a job where you set yourself up every day to be abused by viewers from all over the world. Oh, wait, you don't have to imagine that do you? Care to discuss mental now Jack?

    Nah, I've seen you torn to shreds by some people Jack, but you take it well, and you aren't even nasty in return. Now that's self control buddy, and an Irish sense of humor.....................

    March 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  19. Recovering Blog Addict in Leavenworth Kansas

    I once watched in amazement as someone drove their vehicle beside me on the Interstate while using a laptop computer. Moments later the traffic ahead of us came to a stand-still and wouldn't you know it, the driver using the laptop rear-ended the car in front of them. I wasn't surprised.

    And yes Jack, emails, text messages, and BLOGS (Jack) can be addictive as well as a form of mental illness. So I think I'll avoid the addiction and illness today by not participating in your blogs. Oops, I already failed didn't I.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  20. Eric Platt

    No, but hair on your palm is.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  21. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Well,Jack,while watching teen-agers and college kids having ear phones impacted in their ears and constantly e-mailing and text-messaging,while driving other doing other activities,instead of actually talking to each other. Watching people being addicted to their crack-berries and always checking their e-mail and seeing millions of e-mails disappear from the White House.While every weekday,all of us Caffertyophiles get our daily Jack-fix,I think we are all a little insane. See you in the nuthouse!

    March 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  22. Bruce St Paul MN

    Like any type of addictive or compulsive behavior, it can rise to the level of mental illness. For many people, its no different than having a phone conversation. If it reaches the point where it interferes with other life functions, get some help.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  23. Ralph, Long Island, NY

    I'll send you another comment on that 30 minutes after I take my medication.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  24. R S in ohio

    Looks like alot of people are very mentally ill.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  25. Michael in Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: A very controversial question, knowing that your questions and your show support the "mentally unwell." I view it as a necessary consequence of literacy, and if you post my response.........I'm going to be cured......at least temporarily.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  26. Chris Swansea, MA

    All adiction has some sort of mental illness with it. The question really should be... IF you vote for someone who doesn't have you're best interest in mind, so long as they can say enough bad things about an associate the other candinate once had does that make you mentally ill??

    March 28, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  27. Brian From Fort Mill, S.C.

    I'm not sure I'd use the term "mental illness", but it can become a problem, as other addictions would.

    The test is, whether it causes the person to not function properly in his or her normal, everyday routine.

    Either way, it is a part of our culture, which tells me that what's considered normal is not always healthy.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  28. Patricia

    Jack, I usually hit the delete button on my e-mails. The only e-mails I open are usually from my friends, my lawyers, or the bills I can now recieve from the phone company & other utilities.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  29. Velle In Halifax

    Hell Jack, according to those criteria, this election and the campaigns related with it are a mental illness! As for Asian statistics, could it be that people in such information-repressed regions are just hungry for knowledge of the world they live in? Where are any of us supposed to get current information, from TV reporters corresponding with field reporters who just got the latest "poop" straight from the press-agent's release-notes?
    Later man, I'm going fishing!

    March 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  30. Bill Quarryville, PA

    Thanks for the information my wife has always said I am crazy now you just proven it. This will be the last e-mail you will receive from me for a while. I will be seeking help if my Health Care coverage allows me to. So long, wish you well, have a good life.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  31. Tina

    What in life is not an addiction? If I lived closer to a casino my big butt would be sitting in front of a slot machine and if I was a good Christian I would be going to church every time the doors open.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  32. Tom Huntington,NY

    Not at all....I can quit any time, right after this next one. I have to tell my sister what my cat did today.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  33. barry

    jack, dont want to flatter myself...but i am guessing i am the guy that made you think of this issue... no i am not mentally ill. i enjoy this....
    and it is unbelievable to me that you are so clearly in obama's camp...and show nothing but hatred towards the clintons.. cnn and the viewers deserve better.....thats why when its 4:00 i tune into msnbc or fox....print this jack...

    March 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  34. Rex in Portland, Ore.

    A much surer sign of mental illness is thinking that you deserve to be president of the USA.

    Another sure sign is thinking that you are a pundit and expressing an opinion on everything and expecting to be paid for it.

    A third sure sign is believing in Dr. Phil and the other millions of psycho-babblers belching in the American Journal of Phychiatry.

    God bless us everyone who only sit and type.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  35. S, Michigan

    Jack, Anything excessive is a mental obsession/illness/addiction, etc etc. By the way, want me to stop sending you emails so I am cured?

    March 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  36. Kim, Canada

    I'm sure it can be. There are children who barely leave the house as they are constantly on line, Its more then email its gaming also. Try going to the persons house and having a chat you may have fun.
    Going to super markets with people texting or on the phone what is with that. I just don't get it. Why not invite the person to go with you. I guess it is the sign of the times. Sad times I'd say, but I'm semi old haha, (lol)

    March 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  37. Mike S., New Orleans, Louisiana

    I asked myself if my emailing was a sign of mental illness, and they said no.

    March 28, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  38. J. Onofre - CA

    Jack, don't worry! E-mail is a normal part of life. Just be cause we say we're sick of e-mailing, it doesn't mean it's detromental.

    I wonder if I can use this new universal healthcare plan to cure my mental illness from texting and e-mailing.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  39. Ralph from NY

    Jack, it might become a sickness if one ignores duties to his family, his work, and of course to himself. Otherwise, it represents a way for people to communicate, to speak their feelings, and to have these acknowledged.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  40. Richard Sternagel

    No unless your family and other interpersonal relations suffer from it!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  41. Rhone Jones

    Jack.! Anyone that spends all day sending text messages obviously has some type of problem. Maybe they need a more challenging activity. Like a real job doing something meaningful.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  42. Allen

    You write a Blog and expect to get E-mails in return. How have you been feeling? You can pay someone $100 an hour to listen to your problems.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  43. Jay Atlanta

    Of course it's a sign of mental illness. I'm emailing YOU aren't I?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  44. Richard Sternagel

    No unless your family and other interpersonal relationships suffer because of it!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  45. Nancy, Cunningham, TN

    Oh, come on Jack. Texting and emailing and blogging puts you in touch with so many more interesting people whom you might otherwise not have the opportunity to meet. After all we live in a global economy, why not participate in global conversations.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  46. Eric, surburban, Detroit

    I dont know Jack, I'm a studying PoliticalScientist and attorney, not a Dr. I would think that it could be, but mostly people just wanting to be connected, and In every sense of the word.-

    March 28, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  47. Len Larsen of Colfax, Wisconsin

    Interesting information.

    Some mental illnesses are associated with some sort of chemical imbalance so that you can modify the behavior by giving the correct prescription drug. Is there the possibility that the sending of the email triggers the release of some chemical that produces a level of euphoria that requires the individual to want to send another? Now the pharmaceutical industry needs to research that chemical, come up with a new drug to handle the illness and get more money out of the already hurting public.

    This country can't afford the drugs we are buying now! Have a good weekend getting high on sending emails!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  48. Cara, Canada

    Excessive to the point of disruption of normal life activities or routine is the definition of an addiction or compulsion so yeah it can be.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  49. Ray, Florida

    I don't know Jack! But if you find out email me back OK?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  50. Jennifer

    Hmm. Can I get back to you later? I'm checking my e-mail.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  51. Kristle

    This article seems a little misleading. The headline said email addiction is a sign of mental illness, but the article is about Internet addiction in general. I didn't see any symptoms for text message addiction. At any rate, I don't think text message is an addiction. Its a means to communicate with people. Text messaging is available on the most basic phones nowadays.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  52. B. from Nashville, TN

    Only if the emails and text messages are work related.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:09 pm |
  53. Eric Treacy

    Everything is an addiction or a mental illness these days. I'm waiting for the day a doctor is willing to diagnose my seemingly obsessive/compulsive work for a B.S. in physics as an illness.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  54. Boyd White

    The virtual world is viable. Just think if all those people went outsides and actually did something.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  55. ron

    just like everything else in today's society, lack of personal responsibility is being tossed off with an excuse. amazing- I wonder if
    Bush has a staff of doctors to explain away his problems?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  56. tim from Ravenna, OH

    It seems to me that anytime people want to escape from personal responsibility we make up a new addiction or mental illness. If you are unable to function in society then maybe you have an addiction, if you simply choose not to then you probably have an issue.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  57. J, Maryland

    Not addicted, just employed.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  58. shaku

    Most of my emails are jokes or something connected with my profession and I say this addiction is far better than watching the political circus going on all day on TV repeating the same news in hundred different versions by hundred different faces , which would drive me insane

    March 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  59. Edward Nelson, Mount Vernon, NY

    Hey Jack,

    If sending excessive E-mails and text messages is a sign of mental illness, there are a lot of jobs with ill people populating the work environment. Other than work, I try to respond to at least 2 of your 3 questions when I have a chance. However, when the media replayed the Pastor Wright video excessively I thought something was wrong with America's news stations. Thank goodness you weren't one of them Jack. However, someone in the Situation Room couldn't help it.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  60. Jerry Wilson

    Jack, I knew something was wrong with me, and now you tell me your Blogg has driven me crazy. Thanks a lot.

    Jerry Wilson

    March 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  61. Joe H.

    Well if that is the case then I am suing my employers, past and present, for making me "mentally ill." Afterall, I am required to do the majority of my work via email.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  62. bobbi, kansas

    My, soon to be ex husband, hit on all THREE of the sings he listed! He works nights, comes home gets on the computer until about 2p.m. and then goes to bed... see why we have no marriage? I can call him when he is on the computer and ask him to take something out for supper and he totally blocks out that I have even called. He gets upset if I interrupt his "game playing". ooohhh how I wish I could just disconnect it all, but alas, I have to have my email and be able to read articles online.... waaaahhhh

    March 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  63. Ron D - Richmond, VA

    This is absolutely ridiculous! It might be an addiction for some, fine! But why does it have to be a mental illness?? Every decade/age has its "thing"! In the 70's it used to be disco and being hippy! In the 80's, it was something else! We live in the 21st century where instant connectivity to each other around the world through modern communication/entertainment devices is common; especially since people do not have adequate time to have family, friends due to increased compeition work. education pressure etc.!! What's wrong with that?

    The psychiatrists want it included in their list of illnesses just so that they can brainwash people to think that it is an illness making them to come visit them, so that the shrinks can make more money!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:12 pm |
  64. Candace, 24 - Atlanta

    Well, I'm not so sure that 'compulsive' is necessarily the correct word. We live in a world where 'instant' and 'live' are the norm and expected in relation to telecommunications and media (CNN streams live almost constantly), so I think it's an adaptation to our instant society. We are quick to send a text message or email because we know that in less than a minute, it will be in the hands of the intended party. It's not like we have to write/type the letter on pen and paper (what's THAT?), put a stamp on it, and put it in the mail – now affectionately known as snail mail.

    However, for people that just lose it when they can't get to a computer or their phone stops working, that's another story. I think those people need some time away from their electronic devices so they can remember what life is REALLY like.

    Do I think it should be considered a mental illness? No – we've adapted to the technology and learned how to keep up. But then again, they don't call em CrackBerries for nothin.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  65. Lauren

    i'd say it's an ADDICTION! i've been thinking about this. just face it. it'll be healthier–a possible road to recovery? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh...do i take 12 steps now?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  66. Jennifer Tuckahoe, NY

    Hmm. Can I get back to you later? I'm checking my e-mail.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  67. Dave

    Does this mean I'm mentally ill for responding to your question? I can see a whole new cottage industry of email addiction centers springing up all over the globe. My hours are....

    March 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  68. Peter, Washington State

    Most Americans have been mentally disturbed for years. I had a long discussion about it with my social psychology professor 15 years ago while in college. America is the home of a pathologically disturbed society which breeds pathological personalities. All the denial is just more evidence of this.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  69. Carl Deshazer

    It's not a sign of mental illness if you e-mail and text alot. It's a way of venting at the idiots like King Bush and the do nothing but wrong congress. Jack you and Lou are the only ones that listen to the middle class. And while i'am venting, i will not vote for any of these candidates. McCain war hound, Obama amnesty lover, Clinton amnesty lover and married to Bill Clinton.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  70. Mary (Richmond, VA)

    Jack: No, I don't think it is a sign of mental illness.

    People that bring their cell phones into the bathroom and talk now that is an illness.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  71. Marge.

    Good Lord.. I hate to check my email. I am afraid I have spam spam spam.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  72. Tom, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    So you thought you were going to trick me into e-mailing you, hunh, Jack. Doh!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  73. Irene, Doylestown PA

    The best way to tell is to try to take a day off from your computer and any other device you use for email–if you can't do that there might be a problem. And while we're on the subject, why did I sign up for those CNN news alerts? Am I really that afraid of missing something?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  74. VP

    BTW, with 5 seconds of seing this, I just checked my email. Also tried political ticker

    March 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  75. Mark from NC

    I think more than OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), electronic addiction = social isolation, and thus perhaps, contributory to schizoid disorders. It will be fascinating to see if schizophrenia becomes more prevalent over the next 50 years, if we do not kill ourselves off as a species before that. I suppose that's paranoid, but things are closing in on us.

    Quick question. Which is more vexing: spam, or junk mail brought as a snail's gift?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  76. Mardy

    I dont have a computer at home or a cell phone. Seems I am normal after all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  77. Sean

    Excessiveness in any form is cause for concern. "Online addiction" may be indicative of... sorry, I have to go, I've got mail.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  78. Tom The Patriot

    The first poster above said: “Well Jack if that is true, then the majority of Americans are mentally ill.”. Just visit any typical 'cube' working toiling away in the bit-mines of soulless corporations. Talk about mental illness.

    Electronic distractions, especially texting and e-mail, are designed to keep us away from life, to keep us from actually having to do any work to talk or get to know other people, to keep us from caring about the world or caring about the animals, plants, and creatures we share this the environment with. It further alienates us.

    It is worse than mental illness. Like the rest of modern man and our cities, is a cancer eating away at our nervous system and debasing our soul.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  79. Andrew in Tustin, CA

    I honestly think that a classic saying applies here: "Too much of anything is a bad thing."

    People have to learn to take all things in moderation. Whenever you get so addicted to something that it affects relationships and other areas of your life, you've gone too far.

    This same question could be asked about obsessive gaming, about your job (being a workaholic) and about tons of "hobbies." So why is email or texting any different...?

    People who have these addictions aren't sick, Jack. They may need help, but they are by no means sick. To be sick usually implies you've got a problem through no fault of your own.

    If I eat at fast food all the time and gain hundreds of pounds, am I sick or just unwise? I think society today labels too many things sicknesses that are really just a lack of good judgement.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  80. D

    Why does cnn allow Dinosaurs blog about technology?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  81. Madonna Linville

    How about myspace addiction? I know some people whose whole world revolves around logging into myspace for hours every day.
    What a waste of time!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  82. Christopher Johnston

    Jack is also a dinosaur, new generations today want to be connected and in touch with everyone. Sitting at home on your computer playing warcraft 24hrs a day could be a sign of an illness, but usually relates to a form of depression or social anxiety.. the computer is there so they might as well use it!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  83. Henry Warden


    Yes, it has become a serious illness. I have learned to tell when a person is hooked. Watch how they use their thumbs that were once used for helping the other fingers hold something. They use their thumbs on both hands almost exclusively.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  84. Dave from Mission Viejo,California

    Why are you and everyone else always following me and questioning my every action? Go away or else I'll send my flying monkeys to deal with you.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  85. FLA

    Jack, thanks. You have shed light on what I have always suspected due to the size of my inbox at work everyday... Corporate America is full of mentally ill people. Now I understand why I am so frustrated!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  86. Jeremy

    The thing about mental illness is that it's generally not self-diagnosable. The mentally ill aren't generally very self aware (pre-diagnosis).

    It is very much a question of degrees. All of us are uncomfortable when out of our routines or when things we like and use are not available.

    If it really drives you up a wall, you may have a diagnosable condition. If you feel a little bit out of your element, that's normal.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  87. Martha

    I can't find a button to email this article to my husband. What does that mean that I'm trying to email a link for this article? It can't be good.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  88. Rommel Rivera

    Making up lies to invade sovereign nations is a sign of mental illness. 🙂 But seriously, many "conveniences" of the internet age are leading to unhealthy social behaviors. I'd rather take my chances meeting ladies in person than trying to meet "my perfect soulmate" through places like eHarmony.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  89. Cal

    Really, though, is this just an attempt to drum up business for a dying group known as psychologists? If they can define more diseases, then they can continue charging to treat those diseases. Think about it. If the majority of people did as this article described, then the majority could define the minority (those not desiring more email or computer time) as mentally ill. Disorder is always defined by the powerful of society.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  90. Mete Kamil, Alabama

    Is driving your car on a daily bases a mental illness also? I dont think being online for excessive times is an illness. Unless a person is making every possible excuse to stay online. In that case...yes they have an illness and they need help.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  91. Steve Beckle

    I don't know, but I'll bet the mayor of Detroit wish he'd never used it.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  92. Abby

    The irony is, the Internet has expanded my world, not contracted it. I don't feel more isolated – actually, I am able to be in touch with people I otherwise wouldn't be able.

    Sometimes, I think if you ask the right psychiatrist, breathing is a mental disorder...


    March 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  93. Hysterical in OK

    Well if it is, then I guess we'll soon have another 12 step program available to us! I guess I'd better pry myself off the computer and tuck it away now. But first, let me load back up on my cigarettes and get a pint of Jack. Then I can quit!

    In the long run, compared to these other more serious issues of addiction, why are wasting our time on computer users and e-mailers?! At least the computer habits aren't nearly as physically / emotionally destructive as other ones that could be formed by people with addictive personalities!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  94. Steve

    Excess of ANY activity shows mental issues. Drinking, shopping, sex, washing hands repeatedly. All good things. When done in excess, (with the exception of sex, of course) these are all mental issues. Excessive email/blackberry tapping as one drives, walks down the street on a fog, sits in the back of meetings is definitely a problem. When someone near me does it, it drives ME crazy.

    I always wonder, when I see a driver near me, jabbering away on their cell phone to such a degree they're fogging their car windows, weaving from lane to lane, or driving in the fast lane at 23 MPH, how this person could have possibly survived a few short years ago when there were no cell phones. What can be so incredibly important to require a cell phone in one hand, a latte in the other, and driving with a knee?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  95. Paul Winslow

    Emails are just a form of communication that’s less intrusive than face-to-face interaction. Time is becoming more valuable in today’s society. Send or receive an email and you can spend your free time writing or responding. I think it puts you in control of how you allocate your time. It can eliminates small talk.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  96. damon

    I hate computers.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  97. Aaron Ft. Myers, Fla

    I don't know, Jack, since I am using e-mail to do this I must be mentally ill and if thats the case I am in no position to give you a coherent answer.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  98. Da Yooper

    Love ya Jack – keeping up the good work!!!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  99. Anthony

    Sadly, this may be true. I often get very anxious if I do not get a response to my emails right away. I'll check my email 30 to 40 times an hour. If I don't get any emails I assume something must be wrong with the server or the connection and I start getting angry. I'll smash the keyboard repeatedly, and slap the monitor. If that doesn't work I'll restart the computer 5 or 6 times. I'll get up at 3 AM just to see if a joke I'd sent out roused some good responses from friends.
    I first realized I had a problem when I began resorting to petty crimes to drum up some money for a wireless mouse, or one of those new fangled wide screen HD monitors. I'll do anything to squeeze as many mbps out of my internet service provider. When I need an email fix I want it in nanoseconds. A milisecond can seem like an eternity spent in cyberspace hell.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  100. Mike in Kentucky

    Sure, e-mail can be addictive. Just like anything else – coffee, cigarettes, meth, chocolate, presidential aspirations.... It does seem to be more prevalent among managerial types and the sub-25 generation; those folks can't be away from their "connection" for more than half an hour before they drive everyone else nuts. As for the rest of us, we probably get enough of it at work, so it has exactly zero attraction after that. As for me – I need another cup of coffee and a cigarette. See you later!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  101. Steve

    You are absolutely right . But you really touched a nerve with this one. Look at all the guilty e-mailers defending their "way of life." Freud would love this.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  102. Mark

    Nonsense Jack! LOL omg btw your my BFF on CNN 🙂


    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  103. Isabel

    You people are so corney!!! Of course he's not talking about you if you only send a few emails etc. Now, if replying to Jack is your 985th email today, then yes, you need to get yourself checked, very soon.
    I have 3 girls, 21, 19, and 15, yes, they text alot, yes they email alot, but then again, it's also a way for US to keep in touch in this busy world!! I'm glad my girls use their texting and email to keep me posted thru out the day! Thank you,

    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  104. Dr Jefrey Thompson

    No, for the most part I don't see excessive email and texting as a form of mental illness. It seems to me this is the new mode of communication for a new generation in the 21st century. I'm 60 and my son is 16....he seems to have evolved an intuitive relationship to his computer, cell phone, email, Facebook and Myspace pages. In addition he uses instant messaging and other forms of electronic communication in a completely new level of multi-tasking communication that makes my head spin. Its a brave new world, Jack....and its for our kids to swim in those waters.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  105. Conni

    I have been trying to warn my children for quite some time, about what I am seeing as a dangerous habit that they are getting into. I know that my teenage daughters choose to text over calling friends and boyfriends. They often text things that they wouldn't have the nerve to voice in a phone call.... and believe me, it is often something that they should be choosing not to say. – They become bold....and they need to keep in mind, that those texts can be forwarded just as they often forward texts that they have received. Texting is now something that can warrant punishment if done too late at night or during classroom hours.......yeesh, it never ends!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  106. John - Savoy, Texas

    IT can be a sign of a bad habit, a sign of a lonely person, a sign of a society that had chosen to interact invisibly instead of in person. We used to write letters and now we emal or IM. The only sad part of that is writing (taking the time to physically manually write) was more personal. Now we are no longer personal. And those on the internet can take on other personas or assume power they don't really have by hiding behind a screen name. Check out chat rooms. Chat rooms are microcosms of society with people in there being bullies, or assuming they can decide who joins the room or not. And for teens/kids/hackers, instead of prank calls to Ima Weiner, they can now send you viruses to destroy your computer. Is it an illness? Maybe for a very small percentage but for the other 99.9 its just an excuse.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  107. stu

    people who use email are crazy and eat their babies. It's true.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  108. Rob

    Email and texting is not a sign of mental illness. Everyone is so quick to jump to mental illness and drugs these days. If the internet went down tomorrow, would a lot of people be really upset? OF COURSE! If the stockmarket crashed tomorrow, people would be upset. If the oil we use day in and day out was gone tomorrow, most everyone would be upset. If the power went off in an entire city for one week, I'm sure those people would be mentally ill because they demanded their power be turned back on. It's communication, and it's life... The people who make up these "mental illnesses" are the ones who need to see a doctor. Not the people who have found that technology might actually better their lives. Next I'll be hearing that the stress we get from driving cars could all be avoided if we go back to horses being pulled by wagons.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  109. James from Memphis

    Mental illness? Doubtfully! Social withdrawal? Most certainly!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  110. AJ Mckinney, Texas

    I wouldn't know. I never have enough time away from the computer to worry about silly things like that. Hang on I have a text message coming in.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  111. Mark Marsh

    Jack, this is my 137th answer to this question and the answer is still No.

    Mark, Berry, Ky

    March 28, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  112. Mark

    Nonsense Jack! LOL omg btw your my BFF on CNN


    Toronto, ON

    March 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  113. Terry in Hanover, VA

    No, it's not a sign of mental illness. It's just a bunch of psychiatrists trying to make more money by creating more criteria by which to declare us all mentally ill. I've dealt with psychiatrists both on a personal level with family members and on a professional level when I worked for them. While I'm sure there are exceptions, what I experienced was that they cared more about the insurance money and the co-pays than they did about the patients. Tom Cruise isn't far off the mark when he calls psychiatry bunk science, IMHO.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  114. Joe Black

    I don't have a problem. I can stop at any time. Really.......

    March 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  115. Tim in Minnesota

    Is there a help line where I can get assistance with not e-mailing at all? I mean, I'm terrified to come into work in the morning and start up my computer when I know those e-mails are in there. It's dreadful. Oh no, get 'em off me!!!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  116. Jim in Westchester County, NY


    I find it to be a strategy more than an illness. I would rather deal with matters/issues in real time versus letting them pile up. Working in real time provides me with a more mobile lifestyle and actually allows me to spend more time with my family.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  117. Nora. South Texas

    Look at all the comments you get on your blogs Jack, I think you know the answer to that question, What would you do without us!!!!!!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  118. earl illingsworth

    Jack ,I can't stop laughing, I'm starting to tear-up, this is beautiful, the best question ever! I'm a poor person that can't afford a 41cent stamp! Thus I send E-mails ,but to answer your question , truth is stranger then fiction, and artificial intelligence has got us all by the ying ,and yang! The "Not-So",Neo-Dem?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  119. Evan in Atlanta

    I would bet that I probably have it. Mental addiction to email, that is. I carry my laptop with me everywhere, in the hopes of hitting a Wi-Fi hotspot randomly. My Blackberry is constantly on my right hip to keep me in touch with my job; and my PPC 6700 (pocket PC) is on my left hip to keep me in touch with my family and friends. So, between the two mobile devices and my laptop, I send/receive well over 1000 emails and txts a day. Yep, I am an addict. All I can say, its freakin sweet to live in an era where I can have an addiction like this!! I love my gadgets.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  120. Diana

    Maybe it helps people to feel more connected to others, and to society at large. Unlike watching television, it requires your input. Unlike tatting doilies, it may have a use, but probably not. When it takes the place of physical letters, it may be more permanent, because somehow the communication is still out there in cyberspace. It may outlast us all. Yet, it seems to show us that there are those with the leisure to do this (the way they once might have played bridge all afternoon) and there are those who, in some distant third world country, provide the means to that leisure, cheap labor. Is it really so different from previous ages? I do think it is a sign that society is a bit decadent. It kind of runs afoul of the "no idle hands" ethic. It is a measure of how much idle time we have, and thus an indicator of worldly power.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  121. Jason

    Jack forget about e-mail and the computer being a mental illness, how about U.S. Presidential elections! Now there's a mental illness

    March 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  122. Karen P

    The medical community for look for anything it can to call something an "illness'. I think people are more interested in the technology than the "addiction". And people like to be social...so this gives the "shy" person an outlet without being critized or judged. I imagine South Koreans just want to be able to communicate for a change instead of being isolated.

    So if I love to crochet or read...does that dub me obsessed? Or relaxed and literate?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  123. Terry, Chandler AZ

    My therapist, with whom I am in constant contact via e-mail and IM, does not seem to think I have an addiction to e-mail, nor she think I need to be diagnosed as being mentally unstable. Her therapist, whom she is in constant contact via e-mail and IM, agrees. The only problem I do have is a severe case of carpel tunnel syndrome from this stupid non-ergonomic key board I use 18 – 20 hours a day.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  124. April in texas

    Well Jack if it is then I am nutty as a fruitcake.

    Austin Texas

    March 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  125. Craig

    I'm not sure about everywhere, but in the work place it seems like email has become popular for two reasons:
    1) It allows you to get in touch with someone who might otherwise be busy, and to get responses from them (albeit on their own time)

    2) It allows people to "throw their problems" over the fence at someone else, and not have to face them in person. How many times have you responded to an inquiry by saying "Well, I sent so-and-so an email, but haven't heard anything back yet."?

    Pick up the phone, or better yet, go talk to someone.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  126. Doug Pierson Tohatchi, NM

    Email adiction seems to have all the ear marks of gaming adiction but the shrinks do not want to recognize it...at least yet. Technology seems to addict some. Usually mental illness is defined by an activity that interferes with dailing living,work, home, and relations.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  127. jon

    Hang on.........I think I have an email

    March 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  128. Gianna

    Alexander Grahme Bell had no clue that his invention could lead some to breathe heavily and/or whisper sweet dirties to the listener. Why then are we surprised when emailing, texting, instant messaging has become an obsessive compulsion? The same applies to those who researched and developed the potential for computers and the worldwide web. Did they have a clue that relationships would suffer because of spouses/partners spending too much time in chat rooms, game rooms or instant messaging? Did they know that children would be prey to pedophiles and worse? Were they aware that cheating on one's relationship via text or webcam was to become commonplace? If I had my druthers, I'd trade in my Ford for a horse and my computer for a yellow pad and #2 pencil......ahhh for the good old days when men were men and women were silent.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  129. Andy

    It can be O/C just like anything else. But it doesn't mean we all got it, and I don't think he was suggesting that. But it's definitely real.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  130. Jaime Delevere Rock Island, Il

    Jack, I'd like to write but I'm too busy ruminating about my next e-mail. Got a go.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:30 pm |

    Well It's obvious jack, the republicans have taken all the after school programs from the schools, and the best resources out there for the kids is the INTERNET.
    They spend most of their times on the internet doing homeworks and playing games.

    It's driving them insane.

    Frome james M. of stone mountain GA

    March 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  132. Lewis

    If psychiatrists didn't atleast spend a certain portion of their day convincing the masses they are all crazy, then they wouldn't have any patients. If they didn't have any patients, then they wouldn't have any income. If they didn't have any income, then they wouldn't be able to pay off the student loans that went towards a wasted education.

    I haven't met one psychiatrist that didn't have realllllly weird kids.

    In the mean-time, I'll continue to waste my life emailing people jokes, thusly engaging in mentally ill behavior.

    The mantra used to be "lawyers? just shoot em"; beware psychiatrists, you could be the new "mantra."

    March 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  133. Edward

    The purveyors of therapeutic intervention never cease to amaze me with their non-evidenced based pronouncements. Any behavior to an extreme is fodder for inquiry. OCD is the current keyword for most mental health professionals. I would imagine Jack that there is addiction to the internet when during the use of a computer there is a continuous washing of the fingers mixed in with a splash or two of surfing porno, etc. First it was carpal tunnel syndrome and now it is obsessive compulsion. Just when I thought I had my health care costs contained, another health issue arises. I cannot afford all of these new disorders.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  134. George from Texas

    Mental illness or not, it IS destroying our ability to socialize. I am tired of having lunches with business associates, or friends fo rthat matter, constantly interrupting our conversation to answer their cell phones or an e-mail message. Or spending the entire lunch looking at the top of your guest's head as they hunch over working their Blackberry.

    Until we get away from the expectation that we need to ALWAYS be available to everyone at any time, these behaviours will continue to adversely affect our ability to relax and enjoy the moment and the people in it.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  135. Edgard

    Is it an attempt to divert from your unfair question on McCain's age and his ability to run America?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  136. Paulette Dallas,PA

    Probably, if it becomes an obsession. I myself am fiftysix and just learned to use the internet last year. I was resistent to it. I certainly am not a techie. I email my son and daughter-in-law and my granchildren. After watching you and Wolf all the time,I decided to write into you. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but now it has become a natural part of my day – when I am home. I don't even know how to text nor take pictures with my picture cell phone. As with everything else -Moderation is the key to sanity!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  137. dave

    What an idiotic article, slow news day?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  138. Joe in DE

    Yes and compounded by people like Jack Cafferty.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  139. Me

    What I find interesting is that when I did a search for internet addiction support groups, all the ones I could find were ONLINE!! Does anyone else find that a little interesting??
    I compare that to having AA meetings in a bar. Probably not the best idea.
    Btw, I am addicted to the internet. :-/

    March 28, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  140. Charles

    If you are referring to it from the perspective of social networking, you may be right.

    However, from a business perspective, today's technology has developed expectations that would have seemed to be science fiction only 15 years ago. Today, deliberate email in business (as opposed to spamming or cc'ing the world) is a necessary tool for many of us to multi-task so extensively that it seems ludicrous. And, no, I'm NOT advocating or suggesting texting or emailing while driving, etc, but the tool DOES allow us to have multiple activity threads extremely active at once.

    Excuse me, but my email chime just sounded. I'm expecting a time-critical email from a national task force that I'm working with, so I've gotta go.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  141. F R., Massachusetts

    I think it is important to understand that obsessive-compulsive disorders INTERFERE with one's daily routine. If you are sending emails, texts, on checking the internet regulary but still eating, sleeping, waking and socializing regularly, then I wouldn't consider it a problem. But I would most definately say that there are a number of individuals out there that have become obsessed with thechnology and can not control their urges to text, email or check the internet. Those individuals may truly have a mental disorder, if they CAN NOT control their use of time on-line and it interferes with their daily routine. OCD can come out in many rituals, counting, checking, sorting, cleaning, handwashing .....why not texting or e-mailing?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  142. Denise, Nebraska

    I believe its my right to communicate with the outside world as much as I want, when I want, without being labeled crazy. You'll email me back, won't you???? Won't you?? Please???? Sorry, don't have time for this, I still have to email Lou, Glenn, Anderson, Robin, Erica, Rick, Sanjay, and Wolf. Gotta go.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  143. Al in San Antonio

    No, Jack. We are all addictive to one thing or another. The difference is only in degree. Welcome to a normal human condition.

    Al in San Antonio.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  144. Patti

    Seems to me to be a sign of our inflated egos. Everybody wants to be heard. Like, we each have the answer and can't wait for the rest of the world to acknowledge it.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  145. Larry - Fulton, Ill.

    I really had to think about this one but after taking a Valium and a couple of Xanax, I feel a lot better.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  146. Shawn

    It's just another way for these Dr.'s and therapists to make more money. What's next a pharmaceutical company will come out with a prescription to help you break the addiction.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  147. rhetor1

    Cheap way to boost your ratings and the traffic on this site.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  148. Carisa Knox, South Riding, VA

    I can stop anytime, just ask my husband!!!!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  149. Jack Torrance

    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

    March 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  150. Amnesty is Treason

    i would say so; look at how many the white house has deleted; and what were in those messages?????


    March 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  151. Jerry

    I don't think that it is so much a metal illness as a social illness, we seem to not want to actually talk or meet with people any more.

    "The Machine Stops" written by E.M Forster in 1909 should be manditory reading before any gets an internet account.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  152. caff

    I guess you have a point there, because spammers are definitely mentally ill.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  153. Tutti in AZ

    Jack –

    I think we may have a problem. E-mail and text have taken over our lives. I turn my sound off on my phone while at work, which leaves me constantly looking at my phone every 30 seconds just to see if I have a message from someone. And, if I don't have a message from someone, I HAVE to text a friend a random message just so I get a text back. It's driving me crazy – i'm almost 30 years old – I can't let it go. Please help....

    March 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  154. Dave Quinn

    Your Question:
    Here’s my question to you: Is sending excessive e-mails and text messages a sign of mental illness?

    Are we supposed to email you the answer?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  155. Mike

    For Brian of Idaho, "I hope your not the one that is playing fake daddy to my son." The comment reminded me of something the gentleman I am speaking about would say. Since your comment was sending a "Virus Bomb", it is obvious that you suffer from some kind of mental illness, regardless if you are the person in question or not.

    As for a true resonse; people can become addicted to just about anything which generally always proves a type/degree of mental illness. There are different levels of addiction, so depending on the degree of addiction would equal the degree of mental illness.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  156. Geoff in Canada

    Hey Jack,

    Have you considered how this and stories like it are related to the attack on the 2nd Amendment in your country? When the government can call you crazy, (and they are coming up with as many ways to do that as possible) eventually they will be able to dictate that you can't own a gun. Bit by bit, piece by piece the people are beginning to wake up. The question is will it be too late?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  157. GiGi

    Without obsessive idiots like us, where would your job be? You might have to actually work for a living.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  158. Carl in CT

    I don't need to email and leave messages like this. I just like it a lot. I can quit anytime.

    Really,. I can.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  159. kilwc

    No, it's no addiction. Just a sign that the baby boomers are not in touch with the gen xers and the millennial. To those of us under 33, texting, emails, cell phones, and social networks are merely another way to communicate. To those over 33 or those not so computer savvy all this communication is sensory overload and unnecessary. Remember that you are used to potentially slow outmoded forms of communication that to my generation and under just seem utterly ridiculous.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  160. Nice Try

    Some of us respond to Jack's column every day, opposing his liberal rhetoric. I'm assuming this question is supposed to get to those of us who write in frequently and disagree with what Jack says. This question is supposed to make us wonder if there's something wrong with US, as opposed to his opinions. Not working, Jack. Some of us love news and we love defending our position. Doesn't in any way make us mentally ill. But nice try getting us to shut our traps. Won't work though.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  161. Duane Rose

    Jack. Is sending excessive emails and text messaging an addiction? Sure it is. When kids start developing carpal tunnel syndrome and other physical problems because they have to text their friends all day, I can't see how it isn't an addiction. Take me back to the days of old when, if you wanted to text someone, you wrote a letter. At least letters have heart. Texting is just one ramble after another with no end in sight.


    Leslie, Michigan

    March 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  162. Jen Allan

    I think when it connects us to family and friends, it's a great thing – we all need that connection especially today when the world seems to be going crazy. If it connects us 24/7 to work, that is NOT a good thing – it seems it gets harder and harder to find that all-too-precious "down time" that we all need so desperately, even if we don't know it.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  163. Grand Nagus

    What I think is really a sign of mental illness is not the emails but video game addiction such as World of Warcraft. My girlfriend is so addicted that she complains about her computer being to slow and noe she has taken over mine to play the game which she will play for a good 6 or more hous a day. I get home from work and if I want to use my computer there are arguments and much anger from her. She wont let me use her computer because she has World of Warcraft add ons on that and she is paranoid that I might corrupt her files.
    This is a big danger. Online video game addiction is like virtual crack.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  164. jerome

    Insanity, during the same thing over and over again getting the same result (addition)

    March 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  165. Greg

    Is there a meeting I can go to for help.............online if possible....

    March 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  166. Jim

    Lets see, you are asking the mentally ill if they are mentally ill?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  167. walter poe

    It’s like anything else we have in our society. We abuse it. Email and txt messaging has been in-grained into our being now. Sort like the commercial on TV.

    Clinical psychologist are standing in a room observing a person on the internet or text messaging, one of the psychologist turns the network off in the room and the person who is on the computer starts to freak out.......cries. They turn it back on and you see him go back to normal. You’d think he won a million dollars…..It’s not a mental illness…..its a very dangerous drug……..

    March 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  168. Eric

    Some people may use email excessively, or feel a sense of obligation to reply to most emails they receive from friends and family (like me), but it should not be seen as a sign of mental illness unless someone is obsessed to the point where it affects their actual daily interactions with spouses, partners, colleagues, children. Email should be likened to any mass communication innovation; the telephone changed how people interacted when it arrived on the scene, and many people probably worried about how it was impacting society in the same way people are wringing their hands about email.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  169. The Amazing Snapper Head

    I see it as maybe a mild form of mental illness, right next to excessive cell phone use. The need for members of our society to be in constant communication with each other, appears to be a form of co-dependency, lack of self esteem, etc...which borders on depression, addiction illnesses. No offence intended to all of you addicts.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  170. Mary Sanders

    Jack, sadly I believe this to be a compulsive disorder than can affect you mentally. However, it is not the e-mailing of spending time on the internet - it is the fact that these are places where people can hide their compulsive behavior. Mary

    March 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  171. Becca

    Technically, by repeatedly posting a blog you're also displaying a sort of mental illness by your standards.

    Is excessive emailing a sign of mental illness? No. Some people move away from their families and let's face it - now it's cheaper to shoot off a long winded e-mail than call on a phone or a huge written letter.

    Can some who do this have an illness? Yes. The internet is not a substitute for reality which, as most of us have experienced, is far better than the jollies of virtual reality.

    The internet is still a novelty for many so it's awesome that what used to take many days to get to Los Angeles from New York can hit in just seconds. It's keeping those far away closer to us more often.

    However, isn't it kind of lame to expect us to voice our opinions into you via e-mail? Pot, you're most definitely black.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  172. David Owen

    In extreme cases, yes, they are insane and need therapy.

    I have been forced to work with and travel with a few people who are so obsessed with email and cell calls, they have almost killed us all trying to simultaneouly read email, text messages, yak / yell on their cell, and drive the rental car all at the same time (driving getting the lowest priority and attention) –

    I think there are two ways to tell if someone is mentally ill / email-crazy:

    1) – Cannot skip, ignore or miss any text , email, or cell call ... incredibly rude, will stop continuously in mid conversation with a "live" person to answer cell/text/email, stop walking, hollering on the cell in a small packed elevator, RESTAURANTS, etc. or worst of all,

    2) – DRIVING a car, losing focus on the road and conditions, endangering everyone in the car and the vehicles around them. These people should be ticketed / arrested / shot.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  173. Terry from TN

    I am not sure if it's a mental illness. Let me think about it and I will get back to you after I finish reading all my emails from 1,362 of my "friends" on myspace.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  174. Jack

    I work at an ISP. I know the amount of time people waste on gay forwarded email. It's mostly old people because they don't have anything better to do. Here's some advice to the elderly reading this comment, get off your wrinkled ass and do something productive before you kick the bucket. But don't drive because it's too dangerous for other people. It's not an addiction, it's just laziness. People would rather spend time feeling significant behind a computer monitor in their chat rooms by lying about every thread of their existence. Most of these types are on welfare and have no jobs, with computers that double as ashtrays. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  175. Rob G

    Jack, asking a question like this & expecting a blog response is like asking an overweight compulsive eater to discuss their problems over a double cheeseburger with fries & gravy. It's an ironic oxymoron.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  176. Hullaballoo

    Dain Brammaged!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  177. Norma

    Everything these day's is a "illness"...it would probably be easier to say what "isn't an illness" than what is.... It's a sad state of affairs, to say the least.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  178. Ellen

    Please look for my response via snail mail

    March 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  179. Kathryn K. in St. Louis


    Any obsessive behavior is a sign of obsessive/compulsive disorder, but I believe that internet communication is so addictive because the users reveals and responds to people on such a different level than they do in real life. You can share the best and hide the rest so people will have a view of you that is constantly shaped by only the words you type. Nobody sees whether you are insecure about being ten or a hundred pounds overweight, nobody knows you are great looking or not so great looking, whether you lisp or limp...people relate at sub-superficial level. I'm not saying they see the truth in each other, but they can certainly see a better or even a deeper aspect than one might show in person.

    I was addicted to chatting in a yahoo books and literature room (the only one at the time where people traded actual thoughts and spoke in whole sentences.) I was dissociative and depressed but learned how to be fun and witty again and was later able to relate to real people for the first time since my babies were born ten years before.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  180. Lisa

    I admit it- I am addicted to email! I guess it beats alcohol or cocaine....

    March 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  181. Shah Quadri

    Come on Jack, as much as I like your show I have to let you know, please do not start another downturn on our diminishing economy by stating email usage is an addiction, this will stop the growth of some IT jobs being left in the New Media and elsewhere. It might be an addiction but at least it makes us feel important including you, Lou and Anderson.

    I love all your shows and comments..

    Shah from Virginia

    March 28, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  182. Uwe

    Your very blog's existance depends on this addiction.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  183. Drew from PA

    In today's "wired" world, if they consider sending text messages and email a mental disorder, I wonder what the think about people who pay $4 bucks for a cup of coffee at Starbucks!! Regrettably, I'm guilty of both....

    March 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  184. Bob, Kentucky

    A person would have to be crazy to respond to that question.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  185. Lisa

    I e-mailed my husband about this, and realized that he's not only ignoring me, he's VIRTUALLY ignoring me too! Wonder how his computer would stand up against a croquet mallet. I'll let you know.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  186. "Blog Addiction is not the News" in Leavenworth Kansas

    Let me guess Jack...it's Friday afternoon, it's your last blog/appearance of the day, and you just couldn't bring yourself to talk/blog about politics, rising gas prices, home foreclosures, or random shootings just one more time this week. Have a good weekend. See you Monday. Yep, electronics can be addictive. 🙂

    March 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  187. Carol, Owings Mills, MD

    Obviously, emaiing depends on degree in order to be considered addictive.....my problem with all the latest technology is the risk people are taking while driving.....they don't care what they do or how they drive.....many of them drive slowly while on their cellphone or they run off the road or they cross over the center line. Everybody has a cellphone up to their ear (haven't they heard about cells causing cancer? Guess they don't care about that either). Then you have the idiots who have to call someone from the grocery store to ask what brand of toilet paper to buy or those who simply must take that call in a restaurant or Dr.'s office. Get me some water so I can take my lithium!!!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  188. Sue

    No, if you are using e-mail to replace paper, connect better, socialize more, and express opionions that you would have otherwise not cared to express.

    If you are compulsive about reponding to e-mails or writing e-mails even in situations that are better handled by a meeting or a phone conversation, you may be showing. signs of obssesive compulsive behaviour. Mental illness - no, that is a stretch!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  189. Dawn Lake in the Hills, IL

    Having been in recovery for many years from drugs and alcohol addictions then overcome depression which I had suffered since childhood, it comes down to really the same thing: there are thinking problems before the addiction manifests itself. It centers itself around the loss of self-esteem and spiritual well-being, the sense you don't belong. So grab your kid, parent, spouse or significant other and tell them how much they mean to you, listen rather than talk and be greatful for what you have rather than what you don't. How does that song go...people who need people, are the luckiest people.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  190. Eric in Ontario

    Jack, I think the study is accurate. I am forever checking my e-mail, msn, and news sites. By the way, how is your blog going? How about everyone else in the newsroom there? HINT! HINT!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  191. Chris - Missouri

    Is talking a form of mental illness? Texting, IM, and the internet are new mediums for communicating.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  192. Mark

    Hey Jack:
    Those people who define that way, they actually struggle to get used to the technology. By blaming others, they developed their hypothesis just to make themselves believe that they are not mentally retarded 🙂

    March 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  193. Brian-Ashland-ky

    Jack, it sounds to me like just another attempt for the people in the mental health sector to try and psycho-analize everything we do in this country from how long we stay on the telephone to how many times a day we take a dump! Maybe it's as simple as the psychiatrists and shrinks just trying to do anything to aquire tax payer monies to pay for one useless study after another. I think the old timers would just call that, JOB SECURITY!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  194. Peter

    Jack, tell me about the introduction to the telephone. Were folks addicted to talking then? This will fade, much like use of the telephone. Communication trends ebb and flow, I'm not prepared to send my 15 year-old to therapy just yet.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  195. Tom Cape Cod

    Before the 90's they said the same thing about Television. In MODERATION nothing can hurt you.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  196. Eric in Ontario

    I'm going to keep this page open, and keep hitting the refresh button, until I know my comment is posted.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  197. Darryl Ann

    screw this question Jack. it's stupid.

    Think of some better stuff to talk about.

    Darryl Ann

    March 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  198. Tyler from Oregon

    Jack, I think this is coming from a group of people who do not understand todays technology. To many people in our younger generation texting or sending an instant message is as normal as chatting on the phone or in person. It's just a new means for the same social behavior we have for thousands of years.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  199. AJ

    Does this mean I can apply for social securty and retire since i am mentally unstable?


    Everyone unplugs at some point and realizes how bright the sun really is.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  200. Luv-my-crackberry

    I think I am very productive with my blac (oh wait I have a txt message)…………………………… Ok back. Where was I? Oh yes I love my blackberry….. (oh another text message)……………………………………………………. Ah ok where was I.. I think I get a lot of things done and my blackberry devi..(please hold I just got this email I was expecting).. I will be back.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  201. Sentenza

    Okay, I maybe a bit off for spending too much time online but at least I didnt spend 3 trillion dollars and kill half a million people by invading the wrong country.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  202. wanda

    Ya gotta be kidding me! I think it is probably the other way around.
    People with a mental illness who isolate themselves from the world get a computer to safely see whats going on and in the process discover e-mail and chat rooms. Its a first step to meeting and greeting real live people. I for one think its a baby step to sanity. I tried to text. By the time I found my glasses to see which letter corresponds with the numbers, pecked the message out and got the text sent. I could have called, got my answer and been done with it! A pain in the you know what!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  203. vincent

    Is it chronic or infectious.......

    March 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  204. Philip Murphy

    Jack – Like anything else, it depends. Does one devote time to their fictional pals on the internet at the expense of their family? Do they get angry when their family interrupts their typing? Do they save all the emails? Do they not go out on family gatherings?

    Its like any addiction. If it interrupts your life in such a way that you are paralyzed from normal activities, then its time to hide the keyboard!

    I'd type more Jack, but I got mail!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  205. Verbal

    I wouldn't sum it with email as the example. Internet addiction is most prevalent in video games, chat rooms, and other forms of browsing.

    I've suffered from it myself. I was laid off around 2000 and became addicted to an online video game. I didn't get work for years and had to borrow money to live off of. I still am addicted to some point. After working full time on a computer (I am reading CNN at work–and am logged into at least five different personal websites at all times) during the day I then go home and immediately sit down at my computer to play a video game. Sometimes I forget to make dinner.

    This is very serious and I called it out quite a few years ago. Asian countries have already been proactive at treating people for some time while in the US I was ridiculed for even suggesting such an issue was real. It's nice to know we're coming around, even if it is behind everyone else.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  206. mikeytherhino

    The fact that there seems to be a study almost every day that says there's something else that's bad for us In some way, It's not surprising that E-mail can be be used to the point of being a mental health issue.

    Hmmmmm..... A thought strikes me. Does it mean that I'm a Normal person that I, never ,EVER, text anyone, and ignore My e-mail for weeks at a time? or does that just mean I'm Lazy?

    Mike, From Staten Island, New York

    March 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  207. Punjab Frank - Chicago

    Actually, constantly identifying forms of mental illness in others is itself a form of mental illness.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  208. Rick Shultz

    When my kids were growing up, it was often a challenges to get the phone out their ears. My guess is parents now are challenged to keep a keyboard out of their hands. Does that make them 'nuts.' No, it just means their kids.

    Rick Medina,OH

    March 28, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  209. Anderson

    It depends. We would like get a second opinion on this one. Is Dr. Sanjay Gupta around?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  210. Bob L. Philadelphia, PA

    No, it's an addiction like gambling, drugs, smoking, and drinking. And what's wrong with people communicating with each other? It's the new, easier, inexpensive way to send letters, well-wishes, etc.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  211. thimken

    expression of thoughts and feelings was once considered psychologically healthy. The person with this notion of emailing being a mental illness is probably the one most in need of psychiatric treatment for attempting to scare people from communicating or engaging in free speech. Gotta watch those nazi's and how pervasive the efforts to control others and limit expression can be. I find it hard to believe you have wasted valuable time with this nonsense and not applied it to more pressing investigative reporting. this article should have hit the trash the moment who ever thought of it.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  212. Paul from MN

    Jack, Emailing and texting are or no more a mental illness than imaginary sniper fire. Gotta go... I'm running to my vehicle now. LOL

    March 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  213. Fred C Dobbs

    This is my first email to Jack Cafferty. Am I now mentally unstable? Should I be for even considering an email to Jack Cafferty?

    Make this count for there shall be no further emails to Jack Cafferty.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  214. Roger

    an explanation

    March 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  215. Brad in Orefield PA

    Excessive e-mail usage is no more a mental illness than was excessive use of the telephone in the early part of the 20th century ... I'm more concerned about the mental illness that's resulting from the country's obsession with the 2008 Democratic Primary.

    Orefield, PA

    March 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  216. Steve-Arkansas

    Jack, sending e-mails is about as much a mental illness as listening to Bill, Hillary, and Chelse brag and lie about themselves day in and day out. On second thought Jack, can you refer me to a good shrink.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  217. Kindred

    Perhaps it's an addiction issue, rather than a mental illness. Sounds like it may be time to start an online "E-mail Anonymous."

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  218. james hoffman, Prescott, MI

    Don't blame me for insanity! I am 62 and just diagnosed with type 1 diabetis. Ergo, my loss of mental acumen. What is your excuse, Jack?

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  219. Mike

    My kids are obsessed with My Space they click endlessly on the phones they have. They have even gone so far as to text each other from their rooms. This is insane. My oldest Son sent 5, 900 texts in a month. That's around 9.5 text messages per hour. It's like digital CRACK. They cannot stop; they stop doing chores. I hate cell phones and I want to meet the My Space guy who invented it face to face and make him eat a cell phone.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  220. DeeDee

    i'm so dysfunctional.....lol

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  221. Ben in AZ

    I would say it's probably a sign of a shift in socialization values in our society, not an addiction. In the past, people worked in jobs where they were closely associating with other people, and this provides comfort – most people do not like to feel alone. In the modern world, however, many of us are shuffled into cubicles day after day, with walls designed to be specifically high enough to make interpersonal conversation difficult, and shield us from the "distraction" of seeing other people, in an attempt to get us to focus harder on our work. The reality is, it just makes people feel isolated, and that drives them to email and chat in order to have some sort of human interaction during their day.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  222. Bryan

    I think responding to ridiculous blogs is a sign of mental illness. Oh, wait! I just responded, I must be CRAZY!!!!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  223. Zeppo

    You're starting to sound like my wife, Jack.

    Maybe your right, I'm never posting on Wolf's blog again!

    March 28, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  224. Jim

    Cafferty + his stupid questions = mental illness. I seriously call for your retirment. No serious person wanting news wants to hear from you.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  225. Kevin

    I just received a text message from a friend going into labor.

    So much for waiting to light up the cigar after the fact!

    It's all, so, so, so instant...

    March 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  226. John

    When a feeling or behavior begins to interfere with daily functioning, then it's time to seek some professional help.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  227. "Blog Addiction is News?" in Leavenworth Kansas

    Let me guess Jack....it's Friday (TGIF), it's your last story/blog of the week, and you just couldn't bring yourself to create a blog/story about politics, the upcoming election, rising gas prices, home foreclosures, random shooting across America, or violence in Iraq just one more time. What a wicked-little question you've posted. Hope you found as much humor in it as many others of us have. Have a good weekend. See you Monday...ready to blog once again. Does that mean I'm addicted? I wonder if the South Koreans feel addicted...

    March 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  228. Robert Smith

    Damn sure is, if you don't believe me check out John from the great state of Tennessee. His EMail seems to fit the definition of Mental Illness to a T.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  229. Zack B. - Ithaca, NY

    While I don't feel that excessive emailing or text messaging quite constitutes a mental illness in and of itself, a more general internet addiction certainly seems plausible. Classifying excessive emailing or text messaging as a disorder, given that they are merely means of communication, invites the likes of certain extremely gabby relatives of mine into the realm of the mentally disturbed. While I might be eternally grateful for their institutional commitment, it would do a great disservice to the millions suffering from serious legitimate mental disorders.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  230. Alan S. Gurman, PhD

    Perhaps it is ironically a sign of "mental illness" to call a lot of emailing and interneting a "mental illness", that is, maybe it is a sign of another new disorder we could call "compulsive labeling".

    Alan S. Gurman, Ph.D.
    Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry
    University of Wisconsin School of Medicine

    March 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  231. Steve J. from Austin, TX

    Great, Maybe I can sell my boss on the idea and we can go back to face-to-face communication

    March 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  232. Lila Chanute, Kansas

    I, and everyone else check their e-mails each and every day of the week. Business' and even doctors check their emails and do research on the computers as well as myself. Which however does not make it a mental Illness of any kind. I don't know where you get your resources that it is a Mental Illness but if you looked it up on the internet to find your source I guess you are Mental Ill as well. I guess I need to go see my doctor to see if there is a theory to my mental Illness about checking and researching on the computer so I can be healed... Have a good day.. you just made my day just telling me I have a mental Illness... thanks again for bringing it to my attention... LOL

    March 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  233. Mettle

    It isn't a mental illness. It's a completely controllable behavior that too many people don't make any effort to control. Same with excessive cell phone use.

    I've always assumed the people who constantly have their eyes glued to their Blackberry and their cell phone adhered to their ear are people who have fears about spending time alone, especially if that means having to entertain themselves or (heavens forbid) be introspective. Blackberries, cell phones and the like are just what they use to distract themselves.

    March 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  234. "Blog Addiction is News?" in Leavenworth Kansas

    Let me guess Jack...it's Friday (TGIF), it's your last story/blog, and you just couldn't bring yourself to report/blog on politics, the election, rising gas prices, home foreclosures, or violence in Iraq just one more time? Fair enough – have a good weekend. See you Monday, ready to blog again. Does that mean I'm addicted? I wonder if the South Koreans consider themselves addicted...

    March 28, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  235. Arlene

    I love, no wait, I loooooooove the Internet, and e-mail, and CNN online, and the blogs. If I'm mentally ill, it's not because I'm addicted to being online, it's because of my husband's constant harassment about me being addicted to the Internet.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  236. Dave

    It's not an mental illness, it's an addiction just like using a cell phone all the time. Some people get all worked up when they forget their cell phone or can't get a connection. For years all of us operated without the internet or cell phones. Yes they both are very useful and I am not looking to go back in time, but anything can be used to excess.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  237. Damigu - Edmonton, Alberta

    E-mail addiction is a sign that a lot of people lack attention.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  238. Ryan in Texas

    I think the real question is "Is e-mail addiction a real addiction?" I guess it is possible, but just like any other habitual activity it can only be "mental illness" if it is impairing a person's ability to function in multiple areas of their life. Perhaps we should be asking if and whywe as Americans are addicted to finding new things to call "addictions" instead of sounding off the alarm every time we start noticing new bad habits.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  239. A bit of paranoia, Royersford PA

    Tom the Patriot wrote – "Electronic distractions, especially texting and e-mail, are designed to keep us away from life, to keep us from actually having to do any work to talk or get to know other people, to keep us from caring about the world or caring about the animals, plants, and creatures we share this the environment with. It further alienates us."

    I didn't know that!!! Oh my goodness, we have fallen into their evil plans!!! Damn you Corporate America!!!

    I can see him now! "The MAN" is sitting there in his plush office chair, surrounded by his evil corporate minions... "Muhahahaha, our devices of doom have done it! We have succeeded in keeping the masses from having to do any work, or talk to get to know other people!"

    Wake up people! Smash your blackberries and laptops! Today is a day for revolution! Reawaken the pony express and start talking to other people again before it is too late!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  240. Patrick

    Case in point: I work for a radio station, and I almost missed a live news segment because I was reading this article and lost track of time.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  241. Serge Crespy


    So is my addiction to CNN!!

    Could be worse; I may soon be drinking, as a result of my inexperience and frustration with computers.

    Have a great weekend, Jack;


    Serge Crespy
    Collingwood, Ontario

    March 28, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  242. James S. Lenon - TN

    I'll have to get back to you on that, Jack, after I walk a couple miles, fix dinner, read another chapter or two in my current book, and enjoy talking to my wife. I'm 60 and don't believe I have any need to be in constant contact with anyone, don't believe that I'm important enough to endanger other people on the highways, and enjoy living on the edge of a national forest with more bird songs than ring tones.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  243. Chryssa

    Maybe this is how we'll prevent China from becoming the most powerful country in the world – send them lots of text messages and e-mails.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  244. Shirley in New River Valley, Va

    I guess the next thing will be going to the bathroom excessively is a sign of mental illness? Me thinks many of the psychobabble experts who are so quick to judge others "mentally ill" have a screw or two loose in their own noodle!!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  245. Tom in Silicon Valley

    I'm on the computer all day at work checking emails and writing code. Hasn't harmed me any, except for the occasional manta-ray attack from above and uncontrollable giggling. But that could be a side effect from the various anxiety medications I take for my email addiction...

    March 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  246. Alan

    Yep Count me in. I had to change my name email address 16 times so I could get enough responses to you! But I feel better now, thanks!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  247. Alison

    Hey, it's cheaper entertainment than a $4300 jersey hooker, right? It's not mental illness, it's sound financial management!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  248. Rick Watson

    In todays world virtually everything we do daily such as emailing, playing games, watching TV, sleeping, eating, working, etc now has a mental illness attached to it. Our society now accepts these illnesses whenever we need to explain (justify) their excessive use. The question you should be asking is who or what sets the division between acceptable and excessive use?

    March 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  249. j in ohio

    Another question that should be asked is 'How many employees are required to carry an umbilical cord to their jobs'. Some employers want to be able to contact employees any hour of the day or night, or to call them back from vacations, etc. As an IT person I have had to do this at times but have not been forced to be as attached as others in my profession. I carry a cell phone for emergencies. I don't have a Blackberry or Treo. When I go home I don't want to even look at a computer. Yes I am over 25 too.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  250. M. Rogers

    Ok! Great.. so if I need help I guess that will come in the form of a pill. Add one more line to that great field of pyscho babble.. I was just curious, do these same psychiatrist ever view the abnormal behavior of the entire world. Lets see..so many abnormal behaviors: Sub prime mess (many abnormal behaviors there with all people involved investors and home buyer), wars (seems we can't eliminate such a simple problem), the fact we our allowing president Bush to rule us (that one should really be studied), many areas of abnormal behavior surround us why don't we ever tackle these issues I guess we think we have it all figured out.. The largest problem.. we try to place value on everything and let people starve to serve up to our money ideals.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  251. Gordon in Texas

    Whew, I thought they were daemonized.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  252. Katherine Giuffre

    So can I claim disability benefits if my OCD emailing is work-related? That would be great.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  253. John Haigney

    Can we please stop inventing mental illnesses to sell medication?There is very little "actual" valid research done to substantiate these claims. Yet, there it is in the APA Diagnostic manual which grows yearly. Let's ask ourselves one basic question, who benefits from creating "mental disorders"?

    March 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  254. Shon K!

    I'll bet there will be a pill for it by next Tuesday!

    AND...it will be a tier one drug on my crappy insurance...and I'll have to stop taking my medication for depression so that I can treat my addiction. Of course it might interfer with my ADHD medication, as I imagine the two are quite similar...just different binders...and a spiffy bright pink color! I'll need to take something for the side effects of the withdrawl from the depression medication. Now, I'm obsessing over medication! I'm sure there's a pill for that...and it might even be a generic...SCORE!!! Sure, millions of lab rats have died from it...but I won't find out about that for another 4 years.

    I need a drink!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  255. Tony S.

    What's e-mail?

    March 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  256. William Henderson

    So I have Caffertyritus? Wanna make some thing of it!?! Ding! Gotta go i got a new message!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  257. Katherine Giuffre

    So can I claim disability benefits if my OCD emailing is work-related? That would be great.
    Washington, DC

    March 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  258. John

    You were probably implying text messages. Email is a normal and needed function that is used by big buisness,government and even regular people.
    Perhaps it's time for you to retire or at least get some of the videos from http://www.videoprofessor.com ( that's a website )

    March 28, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  259. email eddy

    Email addiction now I've heard..excuse me for a second...that's right, I never did get your note about the meeting. oh yeah, screw you...where was I, that's right, email addiction.

    I imagine they'll be checking into the Betty Fo...excuse me...no, I don't want a larger penis...but you can send a free sample...

    Where was I...email addiction..oh that's right, the next thing you know they'll be sending people to the Betty Ford Clinic for that...just out of curiosity, what does the clinic charge...let's see google, betty ford clinic..no phone... there's an email address...gotta go

    March 28, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  260. Elizabeth from Flossmoor, IL

    If you're doing it in bed while ignoring your spouse, most definitely. Otherwise, email is just a fact of life.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:45 pm |
  261. andrew of california

    "Normal is what they do in your neighborhood." So, crazy is listening to what everyone in the universe has to say about issues?

    March 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  262. Jim Dennison

    I work for a wireless phone company and was assisting a customer earlier today whose daughter, a high school freshman had used over 19,000 combined sent and received text messages during the course of one 30 day billing cycle. That would average out to roughly 659 text messsages a day. If excessive text messaging is a sign of mental illness, that child must be absolutely, positively MAD!

    March 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  263. Carolyn Pottsville, PA

    It is not a sign of mental illness – it is a sign of people needing to connect with others. What's funny is that the technology that let's people communicate on an international level keeps them too busy to communicate with friends and family. You offer your viewers a chance to vent their frustrations instead of going postal. So, you are a surrogate therapist, Jack! And you do not charge the ridiculously high rates. Also, you are keeping us off the medications that would go into our water supply! So you are an environmentalist too.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  264. Neil

    My favorite is people emailing while going to the bathroom . Then answering a phone call and putting all that bathroom experience right on their face.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  265. Michael John Lorenz

    Well, I guess i'm f*cked

    March 28, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  266. Julia Gulia from LA

    Communication a disorder? Please.

    No communication will drive one mad before too much communication.

    March 28, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  267. DANIEL


    If it's not internet/e-mail we are addicted to then what else do we have?

    March 28, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  268. Richard - Anaheim, CA

    Are we so afraid of being alone with ourselves that we have to spend every waking minute in electronic conversations with everyone we have ever met?

    March 28, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  269. Amber

    Hi Jack,

    I think it's important to factor in the cultural differences with China, South Korea and ourselves. Mental illness may be a different consideration for each culture because of how the culture socially interacts. Being socially direct as far as being verbally direct and extroverted with emotions is typically more of American traits than Chinese, South Korean and also Japanese traits. So because of this, it is not surprising to see that China and South Korea tend to rely more on Internet e-mail, text and chat as a "silent," and perhaps, discreet way of communicating, where they know that they are safe from being inconsiderate in any way and causing discomfort.

    Lafayette, CA

    March 28, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  270. Antonio

    Where do I sign up for the federal "hand-out" that so often pours onto the despair of those suffering from other addictions?

    March 28, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  271. Blaine


    March 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  272. Don Smith Ukiah CA

    Dear Jack:

    I believe the answer is 'yes' because of all the silly uses for computer interactivity. You too can influence who stays and who goes on Dancing With The Stars or American Idol. We are becoming a nation of needy people. There's no one better able to turn a need into a dollar than the guy who supplies an emotional outlet for a meaningless win. Played any Halo lately? Grand Theft?

    March 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  273. EJC

    This is a real backwards world when we lable 'literate' communicating individuals mentally ill and those who constantly have a cell phone to thier ear as sane!
    What about hard of hearing or deaf people who cannot contact others by phone and can only text? You may also find those who don't speak well, are introverted and/or dislike phones are the ones who may use e-mail and texting almost exclusively. The survey that was created to come to this conclusion is very flawed (probably because of one or all of the following: they did not use a bigger sampling, did not use a more varied audience or mistargeted thier demegraphics).
    The individuals who I think should be considered in need of help are: very long hour computer users and/or "game players" .

    March 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  274. Brian, New York

    yes, excessive e-mailing and texting is a sign of O.C.D. Just take a look at anyone with a crackberry, oops I mean blackberry, these people hunch and squint to read from these things and they seem to be an extension of the person. Furhter some kids rack up thousands of dollars monthly, my friends kid had a texting bill of $1000. Thats crazy! do people talk to each other any more? And do people have to be in constant contact with each other, or be able to locate you via G.P.S. I mean really people have become so anal about their e-mail & texting, it's the new herion, and these people are serious junkies. I grew up in the 70's and 80's and I did just fine without. In fact I used to pride myself on being hard to find or locate. I need my privacy and I don't want to be available to anyone whenever they want. My time is my time not yours or theirs this is why my cell phone is always turned off and I have to keep renewing my e-mail account. I dont need them. If I have something to tell someone I'll tell them face to face, in person. Our society is becoming so disconected from one another. Everyone looks like somthing out of Star Trek: The next Generation known as The Borg, half human, half machine, no personality. this is not the America that I want to live in, and it's not the America that my ancestors help build. You see my family have been here since 1750 and I am a Son of Liberty and of the Revolution and it s killing me to see this great country be sold down the river to the lowest bidder.
    Keep up the good work Jack, and Liberty and Revolution NOW!

    March 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  275. benjaminfalk

    Absolutely. Anyone who is arguing against this is delusional. People are quickly moving many of their interactions online. There is a practical side to it – efficiency, convenience, nearly unlimited information, and so forth – but along with all of that comes the opportunity to escape into another world that, for many people, is more comfortable and inviting than the external world.

    As the world connects more and more through computers and the internet, we are quickly becoming more and more disconnected from each other. Human interaction is dying.

    -Ben, New York, NY

    Go Barack! The world needs you.

    March 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  276. Carl Harris

    I think I just sent An E-mail Instead of Blog? Is this a good start to my mental illness claim for Government Benifits, Nagh! I love working too much for too little!!

    Carl in St. Petersburg

    March 28, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  277. Robert Allen, Dallas, TX

    Absolutely not. E-Mail addiction could be no worse than say, cigarettes, heroin, or arm-twisting of super delegates. On second thought Jack, maybe it is an addiction. If so, I seem to have it.

    Bob Allen
    Dallas, TX

    March 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  278. Peggy Rush (MO)

    Jack; I have 12 kids who are busy raising their families and don't have time to keep up with the news. Therefore, I send them articles that I feel have important info for them to know about, especially with the Nov. elections coming up. If you ask them, I'm sure that they would tell you that : "mom has a problem". Ha, ha!

    March 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  279. Alexander Riccio From New York City

    most TxT/SMS messaging is social.
    Considering the above to be true socializing is apparently a major public health concern........
    Just shows how bad our situation is....................

    (everything is good in moderation)

    March 28, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  280. R.

    Jack, I'm not defending the perverts who get their jollies looking at sexy pictures or writing to supposed sexpots, or those who try to kidnap young girls. It's a shame when we cannot receive our mail safely, important pieces are left outskde because postmen and postwomen are too lazy to fit mail through door slots - and their managers either defend their action or do nothing. Those suffering from mental illness are the USPS, and you, for asking such an obvious question.

    March 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  281. Seph

    Hi Jack,

    In America, Economics and Psychiatry go hand in hand. We all know this is a self-serving "suggestion" (their quote, not mine) by the American Journal of Psychiatry. They are trying to explain the use of technology with their discipline to be able to pay for huge houses, fast cars, and the education of their children. Not that it's bad but it's an amazing non-sequitur argument, and to make it legit they mix it with marketing.

    It's not an illness. AJP just forgot to consider man's desire for education, interaction and information through technology. Homo sapiens, remember?

    March 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  282. Omar


    C'mon! Internet addiction? Whatever happend to everything in moderation? Of course if you are totally consumed with something that hinders you from living a normal and happy life , it's an issue! But with all due respect to anyone he feels they have this sort of "addiction"............................. Get off the computer!! This is the first time I have ever responded to one of your questions Jack, so I know I'm not addicted!!

    Toronto ,Canada

    March 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  283. Amanda

    Mental NO Crazy Yes. In the time it takes to send a text message or an email, if you would call the person and talk, you have an immediate answer and can move on. And if I see one more person texting and driving I'm going to lose my mind.

    March 28, 2008 at 6:38 pm |
  284. Christy

    In one of my lecture classes, there is a girl who lets her phone vibrate repeateadly. She takes a text, returns it, then takes another text. She does this six or seven times per lecture. Now, who is she talking to that cannot wait fifty minutes? And she knows other people can hear her phone vibrating, as she gets stares quite often. There are also many ways to take a text without making a sound. (As many people around me in the same lecture exhibit daily.) I also notice around campus that people enjoy talking loudly about personal problems on the phone. I've heard people breaking up with eachother, scheduling an oil change (giving out name and address in front of twenty people), and talking nonstop about Billy and Joey and who is more shaggable. I think when people are not being heard in their daily lives or not having meaningful contact with others they act out in these ways. I wouldn't consider it a mental illness. I think there is a range of normal behavior that goes along with any new technology. (radio, television, internet, text-messaging). It's when people use this medium to act out that there is a problem.

    March 28, 2008 at 6:39 pm |