Every day, people use the Internet for work, to play games, interact on social media, and shop online. Similar to a drug or alcohol addiction, when a person is addicted to the Internet, he or she continues the before despite negative consequences. The brain changes chemically and physiologically when a person has an addiction, making it difficult for him or her to stop.
Addictive behaviors interfere with relationships. When an individual is addicted to the Internet, all of his or her time is spent online and they devote most or all of his or her time online. A person with an Internet addiction chooses to stay home and avoids social situations. He or she develops emotional attachments to the online friends and virtual world they make up. According to A. Weinstein and M. Lejoyeux who wrote about Internet addiction (2010) for The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, “Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) ruins lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances, and social problems.”
A person with an Internet addiction likes to socialize through chat rooms, group forums, social media, or other online platforms. Some spend endless hours researching a topic of interest or blogging. People who struggle with an Internet addiction use a fantasy world to meet people online instead of developing real-life human connections. Often, people who struggle with addiction have a co-occurring mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, or a social disorder.
Signs of Internet addiction include:
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Spending a lot of time online
- Inability to control behavior
- Using the Internet as a way to cope
- Hiding Internet involvement
- Neglecting significant relationships
- Seeking more time online
Internet addiction affects a person’s family, academics, savings, and work productivity. Individuals with an Internet addiction usually spend more time in isolation and spend less time with real-life relationships.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction or substance use disorder, get help now. A mental health evaluation may be required to treat any underlying mental illnesses that coincide with addiction. Do not be afraid to get help. Save a life and get help today.
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