"iPhone Addiction Disorder" hits Taiwan

Psychiatry operates under different rules in Asia, and Freud might not even recognise the old science if he visited Japan or Thailand or Taiwan. China? It’s used there mostly to put Nobel laureates in jail.

But there are shrinks in Asia, and they are making headway as their profession gains more and more respect in lands where ghosts regularly interact with living people and burying “spirit money” for dead relatives in heaven is part of daily life in the non-Christian Taoist/Buddhist/Shintoist East.

Now comes news that two psychiatrists in Taiwan have diagnosed a new mental disorder associated with iPhone overuse, or iPhone addiction. 

Dr Tsung-tsai Yang of the Cardinal Tien Hospital, a Catholic missionary hospital no less, recently told local media of a “weird case” a highly-wired high school boy “whose eyes were glued to his iPhone screen during 24/7” – including, presumably, his Monday to Friday classes – “and even stayed up all night surfing the internet on his phone most evenings.”

The result: the student was not able to make it to school on time most days. The diagnosis: IAD, or in plain English, iPhone Addiction Disorder.

“The boy had to be hospitalized in a mental ward after his daily life was thrown into complete disarray by his iPhone addiction,” Yang said.

He was diagnosed with addiction disorder, the doctor added.

Dr Kuang-hui Lee, a Taipei-based psychiatrist, says that for Taiwan, a previously common problem – ”CAD, or computer addiction disorder” – has been eclipsed by iPhone disorders.

No word yet on iPad disorders. But surely “iPad Addiction Disoder” is on tap soon for some overscreeny Taiwanese netizens.

In another case making the medical rounds in Taiwan, a 31 year-old saleswoman has been diagnosed, according to her shrink. with a highly-distracting addiction to her iPhone leading to ”traffic issues”.

“She even plays with her iPhone while waiting at the traffic lights, and sometimes becomes so distracted that she fails to notice when the lights turn green,” her bewildered doctor said.

Dr Yang, back at the Catholic missionary hospital, says that for most people, IAD is easy to cure. But he said that people who spend almost all their time online “probably have a
latent emotional disorder or even depression.”

Dr Freud, your diagnosis, sir?