Last updated: 05/6/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Yes, internet addiction is real. Since addiction is defined as a harmful compulsive behavior. This is the case with internet addiction. Although people use the internet everyday to access information, play games, update their friends, and other actions, it can also be an extremely addictive activity. Psychiatrists now recognize internet addiction as a legitimate addictive illness.
What is Internet Addiction?
According to the National Library of Medicine, internet addiction is a uncontrollable, compulsive, harmful, and preoccupation with the internet and internet use. This phenomena is noted across borders and is considered a worldwide issue. It is important to note that internet addiction is only an issue if the use of the internet continues to the point where it is harmful to the person who is affected by it.
What are the Symptoms of Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction has the same signs and symptoms as many of the other known compulsive addictions such as gambling and sex addiction.
- Preoccupation with the internet to the point of constant thought or desire,
- Inability to stop using the internet or cut back despite negative consequences,
- Using the internet longer and more than they intended to begin with,
- Using the internet as a means of escaping real life or reality,
- Harming personal and professional relationships by neglect or other means using the internet,
- Lying about internet use similar to a drug addict lying about drug use, and
- Withdrawal symptoms when use of the internet is denied.
These symptoms can vary in severity depending on the severity and length of the addiction.
What is the Cause of Internet Addiction?
The causes of internet addiction have not been thoroughly studied. Some people believe that the main cause of this addiction is social isolation and mood disorders such as depression and bi-polar disorder. Although psychiatrists and other practitioners are researching internet addiction along with other compulsive addictions, not much about what is a cause and what is an effect of internet addiction is able to be determined.
Who Suffers from Internet Addiction?
Many people worldwide suffer from internet addiction. The people most susceptible tend to be socially isolated. The internet allows for social interaction that some are not normally capable of. Although it brings many people together, should not be the only form of social interaction a person has. Most people diagnosed with internet addiction have social and emotional issues.
How is Internet Addiction Treated?
Internet addiction is treated with a variety of therapies and counseling. This counseling is designed to discover the cause of internet addiction and treat it. Since the internet is not a drug there is no detox portion of treatment, only the actual cause and consequences of it can be treated. When people suffer from compulsive addiction, counseling is the only way that doctors can treat it.