Since the internet was developed and launched many years ago communication has been completely revolutionized. The way that most individuals learn, work and stay in touch with one another has been completely changed from what it was even 20 years ago. With the internet and increasing popularity also comes increasing numbers of people who can’t stop themselves from using the internet—these individuals suffer from internet addiction.
Internet addiction is considered one’s inability to stop playing games, gambling, or aimlessly surfing the web. Understanding the signs, symptoms and treatment possibilities for internet addiction can help keep life balanced and on track. Although compulsive internet addiction is a relatively new condition that is not yet considered a psychological disorder, there are some tell tale signs that an individual is addicted to the internet and needs to get help.
Internet Addiction Causes
While the causes of internet addiction are not yet fully known there are many risk factors that can be associated with an internet addiction. Some of the risk factors that can place you at a higher likelihood of becoming addicted to the internet include anxiety, depression, other addictions to drugs, alcohol or gambling and having a lack of support from friends and family.
Additionally, teenagers are more susceptible to becoming addicted to the internet because they often tend to feel like they fit in better online. Other people who are at risk of becoming addicted to the internet are those who are not socially active or who are less mobile than they used to be. Sometimes, disabilities or limited driving can result in individuals becoming addicted to the internet due to the ease in finding solace and comfort in the internet when stuck at home.
Internet Addiction Symptoms
Internet addiction symptoms will vary from person to person depending on the severity of the addiction and the type of internet addiction. No specific amount of time has been declared too long to be on the internet and there are no set counts for words or number of websites to be viewed that warrant an internet addiction. Some of the internet addiction symptoms are more prevalent than others.
The most common internet addiction symptoms include losing track of time when online, finding it difficult to complete routine work or home related tasks, isolation from family and friends, and feeling guilty or defensive about the use of the internet. Any of these symptoms are not a guarantee that there is an addiction to the internet but they do signify the possibility of a problem.
Internet addicts will often suffer from isolation and relationship issues as a result of their lack of time spent with friends and family because they are too busy spending time online. Work and home tasks will go undone because the internet addict spends spare time online rather than doing laundry, cooking dinner or grocery shopping. Finally, relationship fights and arguments may occur because the individual addicted to the internet loses track of time that they spend online and then feel defensive about the accusations of being on the computer to much or to long.
Internet Addiction Help and Internet Addiction Treatment
Internet addiction help begins with the admission that there is a true problem with being addicted to the computer or to the internet. Similar to video game addictions, internet addiction can be treated with therapy, support and counseling. Rehab centers that provide treatment for various mental disorders such as OCD and other compulsive behaviors can also provide treatment for internet addiction.
Compulsive internet behaviors can be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy that involves changing the thoughts and behaviors that surround internet use and that ultimately cause internet addiction. For many internet addicts, the reason for excess time spent online is related to anxiety or depression which is an underlying problem that also must be treated in order for the internet addict to recover fully from internet addiction.
Some rehab centers will provide relationship counseling for those internet addicts whose compulsive internet use has resulted in challenging issues as a result of cybersex or an addition to pornography. Internet group support is not a common treatment modality but can be found in some areas such as online forums (though this could be counterproductive as you would have to be online in order to participate).
It’s important to get real life support for internet addiction and treatment for the root cause of the problem. Most internet addictions are the result of a lack of something or a underlying mental condition such as depression or anxiety. Rehab centers can provide therapy and treatment for the mental conditions that are at the root of the addict’s individual internet addiciton.
Psychologically, in order to recover from internet addiction, certain changes must be made. Some internet addicts use the web as a means of coping with problems or to relate to others. Unfortunately, people need to interact with others in person and excessive use of the internet as a means of interacting is unhealthy. Limitations must be placed on internet usage and the type of functions that are actively participated in on the internet in order to aid in recovery from internet addiction.