Theories about causes of Internet addiction and whether addiction to the Internet is similar to drug addiction or is it a tool to self-medicate symptoms of a mental disorder. No one knows what causes a person to develop an, but there are several factors that have been proposed as contributing to the causes of Internet addiction. What Causes Internet Addiction? Internet addiction can be understood by comparing it to other types of addictions. Individuals
or, for example, develop a relationship with their \”chemical(s) of choice\” — a relationship that takes precedence over any and all other aspects of their lives. Addicts find they need drugs merely to feel normal. In Internet addiction, a parallel situation exists. The Internet — like food or drugs in other addictions — provides the \”high\” and addicts become dependent on this cyberspace high to feel normal. They substitute unhealthy relationships for healthy ones. They opt for temporary pleasure rather than the deeper qualities of \”normal\” intimate relationships. Internet addiction follows the same progressive nature of other drug addictions. struggle to control their behaviors, and experience despair over their constant failure to do so. Their loss of self-esteem grows, fueling the need to escape even further into their addictive behaviors. A sense of powerlessness pervades the lives of addicts. Learn more about. Another possible cause of Internet addiction is that someone who has one addiction may be prone to become addicted to other substances or activities, including Internet use.
People with other mental disorders or symptoms as depression, feelings of isolation, stress or anxiety, may \”self-medicate\” by using the Internet in the same way that some people use alcohol or abuse drugs to self-medicate the symptoms of their mental disorder. One question that has not yet been answered concerning Internet addiction is whether it is a distinctive type of addiction or simply an instance of a new technology being used to support other addictions. For example, there are gambling casinos on the Internet that could reinforce a person\’s pre-existing. Similarly, someone addicted to shopping could transfer their addiction from the local mall to online stores. Persons addicted to certain forms of sexual behavior can visit pornography sites on the Internet or use chat rooms as a way to meet others who might be willing to participate in those forms of behavior. Researchers may need to determine whether there is such a disorder as \”pure\” Internet addiction. Ed. Note: Internet addiction disorder is not listed in the mental health professional\’s handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV). Sources Dr. Kimberly Young, Center for Online Addiction What is Internet addiction? Internet addiction is described as an impulse control disorder, which does not involve use of an intoxicating drug and is very similar to pathological gambling.
Some Internet users may develop an emotional attachment to on-line friends and activities they create on their computer screens. Internet users may enjoy aspects of the Internet that allow them to meet, socialize, and exchange ideas through the use of chat rooms, social networking websites, or virtual communities. Other Internet users spend endless hours researching topics of interest Online or blogging. Blogging is a contraction of the term Web log, in which an individual will post commentaries and keep regular chronicle of events. It can be viewed as journaling and the entries are primarily textual. Similar to other addictions, those suffering from Internet addiction use the virtual fantasy world to connect with real people through the Internet, as a substitution for real-life human connection, which they are unable to achieve normally. What are the warning signs of Internet addiction? Preoccupation with the Internet. (Thoughts about previous on-line activity or anticipation of the next on-line session. ) Use of the Internet in increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction. Repeated, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop Internet use. Feelings of restlessness, moodiness, depression, or irritability when attempting to cut down use of the Internet.
On-line longer than originally intended. Jeopardized or risked loss of significant relationships, job, educational or career opportunities because of Internet use. Lies to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet. Use of the Internet is a way to escape from problems or to relieve a dysphoric mood. (e. g. Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, depression. ) What are the effects? Internet addiction results in personal, family, academic, financial, and occupational problems that are characteristic of other addictions. Impairments of real life relationships are disrupted as a result of excessive use of the Internet. Individuals suffering from Internet addiction spend more time in solitary seclusion, spend less time with real people in their lives, and are often viewed as socially awkward. Arguments may result due to the volume of time spent on-line. Those suffering from Internet addiction may attempt to conceal the amount of time spent on-line, which results in distrust and the disturbance of quality in once stable relationships. Some suffering from Internet addiction may create on-line personas or profiles where they are able to alter their identities and pretend to be someone other than himself or herself. Those at highest risk for creation of a secret life are those who suffer from low-self esteem feelings of inadequacy, and fear of disapproval.
Such negative self-concepts lead to clinical problems of depression and anxiety. Many persons who attempt to quit their Internet use experience withdrawal including: anger, depression, relief, mood swings, anxiety, fear, irritability, sadness, loneliness, boredom, restlessness, procrastination, and upset stomach. Being addicted to the Internet can also cause physical discomfort or medical problems such as: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, dry eyes, backaches, severe headaches, eating irregularities, (such as skipping meals), failure to attend to personal hygiene, and sleep disturbance. How can someone get help? The first step is to determine if there is a problem. A Certified Addictions Counselor trained in identification and treatment of Internet addiction can effectively perform an assessment to determine what level of care is most appropriate. For a free confidential assessment, call the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at (800) 522-3784. An assessment can be completed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are always welcome. Sources: Virtual Addiction David N. Greenfield, Ph. D. , Caught in the Net Dr. Kimberly Young, Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, American Psychiatric Association. The team at the IIAR truly provided me with the tools to discover recovery from my Internet addiction. Jacob A.