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How to Overcome an Internet Addiction

Spending too many hours on the internet might sound fairly tame when compared to some other types of addictive behaviour like abusing alcohol or drug. If you engage in this activity, you might console yourself with the idea that you are not harming anyone else. The truth is that obsessive use of the internet is a type of addiction, which can be as harmful as any other type of addiction.

How Can People Become Addicted to the Internet?

The stereotype of an ‘addict’ is a person who needs to keep on taking a drug or else they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. This individual is usually portrayed as desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on their next fix. That type of addiction might sound like a million miles away from your behaviour, but it could actually be closer to reality than you realise.

One way to describe addiction would be to say that it involves doing things despite the obviously bad consequences of doing them. The person who is addicted to alcohol may wake up each morning with the shakes, be unable to hold down a job, and be estranged from their family due to this habit, yet they cannot seem to stop. If you are addicted to the internet, it will mean that you are engaging in this activity despite the negative consequences it is having on your life. It means that you are out of control just as the person addicted to chemicals.

Internet addiction differs from dependence on chemical substances because there is less of a physical component. If the alcoholic is unable to drink, they can begin to experience physical withdrawals – this can include things like the shakes and flu-like symptoms. The person who is addicted to the internet will have symptoms that are more psychological in nature, but this can lead to mild physical symptoms as well – after all, the mind and body are one and the same.

Types of Internet Addiction

Internet addiction actually refers to a number of different conditions that involve spending too much time online. Gaming addiction can involve websites like World of Warcraft where players can go for days without a break. Social media addiction is an addiction whereby people can spend the whole day updating their timeline and playing around with their profile. Internet forum addiction means individuals spending their whole time taking part in chat rooms and conversation threads rather than actually going out and socialising in the real world. Online gambling addiction can quickly lead to very serious financial consequences for the individual and their family. Plenty of people become addicted to surfing the web – just aimlessly going from one website to the next.

Why Do People Become Addicted to the Internet?

Nobody ever sets out to become addicted to the internet – it just happens when people are not careful about the amount of time they spend on there. Going online can be a form of escapism. The individual can escape his or her life and be someone different. Even if you are usually very shy, it is easy to be sociable online.  The anonymity of the web just makes communication easier, becoming very seductive in the process.

The other reason why it is so easy to fall into addiction online is that there are just so many great things on there. The number of options is multiplying every year and the internet can provide almost every type of entertainment imaginable. The rise of technology such as the tablet and smart phones also means that people are now able to go online no matter where they happen to be. Perhaps the real reason why so many people are developing this type of addiction is that it is so hard not to.

Many people are predisposed to developing this type of problem. This includes those who have an addictive personality. Anyone who is not happy in their life is also going to be more at risk because the internet offers such a handy form of escapism.

Is Internet Addiction Dangerous?

Internet addiction can be as serious as any other type of addiction. It can easily lead to depression and suicide. If you are spending all of your time online, it will mean that you miss out on your real life – it is also likely to mean you will not be fulfilling your work, family, and social commitments. Like all other addictions, it involves a downwards spiral – the longer you persist with this behaviour the more things you are going to end up losing.

How to Avoid Internet Addiction

The best way to deal with online addiction is to avoid it in the first place. This means that you should limit the amount of hours you spend on the web each day – this includes time using smartphones and tablets. The secret to finding happiness in life is to engage in a good selection of different activities, including exercising to bring on a sweat. It is probably impractical to totally disengage from the web, but it is certainly possible to limit your time on there to a couple of hours other than for work.

How to Tell If You Have an Internet Addiction

If other people have raised concerns about the amount of time you spend online, this may be a sign that you have a problem. If you have tried to reduce the amount of time you spend on the web but feel unable to stick to these limits, this is a sign of addiction. There are now many resources available to help you overcome this condition. In some instances, it may be best to enter a rehab program because this will help you get to the root of the problem so that you will be less likely to fall into addition in the future.

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