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Internet Addiction

The Danger of Internet Addiction

The internet has undoubtedly changed our lives in many positive ways. It has opened us up to a world of information, and it has made the planet feel like a much small place. Even those people who live in isolated parts of the world can feel like part of a community by going online and making friends. The internet is a wonderful tool, but like most things in life, it has the potential to be damaging. Internet addiction is not so much about spending an excessive amount of time online – it is about doing this despite the fact that it is obviously causing harm to the individual.

What is Internet Addiction?

The word “addiction” tends to be in such common usage these days, that there can be confusion to what it actually refers. This is because people now use the term to mean almost anything that they like to do a lot. Strictly speaking, though, to say that somebody is addicted means that a person is repeatedly engaging in behaviour that is causing a negative impact on their life. In this situation, the individual will have lost at least some control over their actions in regards to the addictive behaviour. When a person is addicted to the internet it means that going online has become an obsession that is a source of suffering in the person’s life. It is worth noting that if the individual was actually gaining more than losing from their behaviour then it would not be so much of a concern – the reality with addiction though, is that the negatives keep on increasing so that they eventually far outweigh and benefits.

Signs of Internet Addiction

The signs of internet addiction are similar to any other type of addiction, and will include things such as:

  • The individual may be spending increasing amounts of time online.

  • Not only is the person spending more time online, but they are also spending more time to thinking about their online life.

  • The person has lost interest in other activities that they used to enjoy. These days all they want to do is go online.

  • The individual continues to spending hours online even though it is obviously causing problems for them in their life.

  • This obsession with the internet is causing the person to neglect their family, work, or social commitments.

  • This behaviour is interfering with the person’s relationships in the real world.

  • Other people may have expressed concern about the amount of time the person spends online.

  • The individual may have lost interest in their personal hygiene or grooming.

  • They talk excessively about their online life.

  • The person may become defensive when other people question their behaviour.

  • The individual may have tried to reduce the time they spend online, but they seem unable to maintain this control over any real period of time.

  • The person is concerned that their internet use has become a problem. If the individual thinks that they might be addicted to the internet, this is usually enough of a symptom to indicate that they are.

  • The individual may intend to go online for a few minutes but they end up staying online for far longer than they intended. This is an indication that they have lost control.

Causes of Internet Addiction

There are numerous theories about potential causes of internet addiction, but there is likely to be different driving forces behind it. Some of the causes most frequently cited would include:

  • The individual has problems in their life that they do not wish to face. They use the internet as a means to hide from these problems.

  • Some people who fall into internet addiction are actually dealing with an untreated mental health problem such as depression or anxiety. The individual may find that in the beginning becoming caught up in the online world eases their symptoms. This is known as self-medication, and it is actually exacerbating the symptoms over time. Eventually the individual ends up with a dual diagnosis, which means that they now have an addiction as well as a mental health problem that needs to be treated.

  • Some people will have experienced mental or emotional trauma in their life, and they may find that the internet helps them forget about their problems.

  • The individual may have poor coping skills for dealing with stress, and they now turn to the internet to help them unwind.

How to Treat Internet Addiction

Internet addiction has become a real concern, and there are now a number of good resources to help people break away from this self-destructive behaviour. This type of addiction might not get the same amount of coverage as alcohol or drug addiction, but it can be extremely serious. This behaviour destroys lives, and it can even drive people to suicide. It is vital that the person gets the help they need in order to break away from this behaviour.

Our team has great expertise in the creation of addiction treatment plans. We will be able to tell you about the resources available in your local area to help you deal with this type of problem

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