Natalie Frank, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology)


In light of a number of hospitalizations that can be traced to chronic Medium overuse, the APA has added Medium Addiction to their diagnostic manual.

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The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has announced that they will add Medium Use and Abuse Disorder, also referred to as Medium Addiction, to the DSM. According to an APA spokesman, this decision was made when it was recognized that writing on Medium has just as great a potential for abuse as any of the addictive substances.

Symptoms of Medium Addiction as reported by the APA include:

  • Spending an increasing amount of time thinking about, engaged in, or recovering from writing on Medium
  • Having most of your life revolve around writing on Medium
  • Feeling like you can’t function normally without being able to write on Medium
  • Being convinced that writing on Medium makes you more interesting, more social or more likable
  • Spending more time writing on Medium than you intended, losing blocks of time or missing important engagements because of writing on Medium
  • Writing on Medium when it is physically hazardous to do so such as when driving or operating heavy equipment
  • Continued writing despite persistent interpersonal problems such as withdrawal from people who don’t write on Medium or social isolation due to the extensive amount of time spent writing on the Medium
  • The persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control your Medium writing habit
  • Experiencing cravings to write on Medium when you aren’t able to do so
  • Your success on Medium is paramount to your well being as evidenced by constant stats checking behavior and frequenting social media sites to promote your Medium writing
  • Writing on Medium has led to the failure to fulfill major life responsibilities at work, home or school
  • Your only social contacts are others who write on Medium who you communicate with only online and only about Medium related topics
  • Tolerance or the continued need to publish more frequently on Medium to achieve the same degree of satisfaction that you once received from far lower numbers and a markedly decreased effect of happiness from the same number of reads, fans and claps that once gave you joy
  • Withdrawal as evidenced by hyperactivity, hand tremors, insomnia, nausea, agitation, anxiety and depression when you can’t write on medium for more than four hours after which you do whatever it takes to be able to write again on Medium to alleviate these symptoms.

According to Dr. Seau Sueme, Medical Director of the Non-Substance Related Addiction Hospital and Rehab, no one has died from Medium Addiction at this time, though he cautioned that this should not be seen as a sign that it isn’t a serious life threatening condition.

“It just means that we’ve hopefully caught it before it’s gone that far. We’ve been more hypervigilant about non-substance related behavioral indicators of new addictions. No one wants a replay of the Netflix disaster,” Dr. Sueme said, referring to the 2017 deaths of 14 individuals who died when watching back-to-back episodes of Game of Thrones while failing to eat or drink anything for almost a week.

This led to the creation of Netflix Binge Watching Disorder, a condition treated by Dr. Sueme, and federal regulations which required fail-safes to be programmed into any series of more than one season duration. This prevents anyone from watching more than four episodes of half an hour duration or two hour long episodes back-to-back without at least a break that lasts as long as the spent viewing. Dr. Sueme is overseeing a commission that is exploring similar regulations for Medium Addiction.

“It’s harder though,” he said. “Someone can spend 20 hours at a time writing off the platform and just log in for long enough to load their content, check their stats and perhaps read some other content. Unfortunately, not everyone with the disorder has frequent stats checking as a symptom, which would require them to remain logged in for most of the day.”

Dr. Sueme warns that Medium addiction can be serious and long lasting. “The disorder is as dangerous as any of the substance use disorders, “ he said. “Even after detox occurs, there is a still often a craving for Medium that lasts for years afterwards.”

APA is working with media giants to develop an advertising campaign that is aimed at awareness and prevention. A large part of it will be geared toward adolescents, as the age of Medium use onset has been steadily declining. APA also aims to raise funds for prevention and treatment efforts, realizing that there are over a million active Medium users, any of whom may already have become addicted.

“The first step to getting better is to admit that you have a problem,” Dr. Sueme said “There’s nothing new about that. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from an addiction aren’t able to do this until they hit rock bottom.”

Medium addicts we spoke to agreed with this assessment.

“I couldn’t admit that there was anything wrong for the longest time,” one said. “I would tell people that I could quite writing on Medium whenever I wanted to. I was lying to myself as much as to them. The thought of possibly not writing on Medium anymore sent me into such a tailspin that I had to tell myself whatever was necessary to make it seem okay.”

“I kept denying that I had a problem — lying about writing on Medium, using a pen name to hide the fact that I was still doing it when I told my wife I had quite, things like that. It wasn’t until I woke up in an alleyway miles from home, a laptop clutched tightly in my arms with brief glimpses of memories of my wife discovering my betrayal and being chased by the police for stealing a computer to replace the one she had locked away, that I was able to finally see that I needed help.”

If someone you know has a Medium addiction, most believe it’s best to get professional help for them. According to experts, trying to make them stop using the platform on their own can result in violent outbursts and flight as they attempt to find alternative arrangements that allow them to engage in their addiction. To find local services for yourself or someone you know, call the Medium Addiction Helpline at 1–800–555-xxxx.

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