Internet Addiction


The internet addiction disorder is an impulsive control disorder that results from an attachment to online communities and activities. The internet provides a platform for people to connect, interact and share. It provides quick access to information in all fields. Some people cannot control their internet usage and become addicted to their online interactions. They connect with real people online and form relationships that they probably cannot form in real-life interactions. Current changes in information technology allow people to connect to the internet on mobile phones and tablets. This easy access to information has led to addictions to social networks, chats, online games, gambling, cybersex, online stock trading, and cyber relations among others. Internet addiction leads to withdrawal from real life interactions with family and friends, and low productivity in workplaces and schools.

Risk factors and causes of internet addiction

People use the internet for different reasons. Most internet addicts have underlying negative emotions and feelings that they cannot express in real life interactions. They turn to the internet to express their overwhelming emotions to virtual friends. Some use the internet to escape from or avoid stressful situations. Individuals suffering from acute anxiety and depression are likely to be addicted to the internet as it offers relief to their negative emotions. Unhealthy and abusive relationship may lead to internet addictions. Individuals in such relationships may turn to cyber relationships. Such individuals turn to social networks to create new and healthy relationships.

Other addictions and physical disabilities could lead to internet addictions. The internet sometimes enables other existing addictions such as drug, sex and gambling addictions. It offers a new platform for such addictions. Individuals suffering from these addictions find it difficult to overcome internet addiction. Idleness and physical immobility may lead to internet addiction.

Breaking the Internet Addiction

Overcoming the internet addiction disorder is not easy especially with the current trends in communication. Unhealthy internet usage has negative physical and psychological effects on users such as strained eyes, backaches, and depression and anxiety from cyber bullying. To break this addiction, individuals must first recognize that they are addicted to their online activities. Keeping track of the time spent online and on each activity helps in identifying an individual’s specific addiction. Engaging in alternative activities such as outdoor games and real-life interactions with family and friends helps in reducing the hours spent online.

Breaking the internet addiction requires support from friends, family and counselors. Sometimes internet addiction results from other psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. In such cases, individuals require counseling and therapy to overcome the underlying issues. Children and teenagers require support and guidance from their parents and teachers on healthy internet usage.