Types Of Internet Addiction
Internet addiction is a broad term that covers a range of behaviors and impulse-control problems involving internet, personal computer, and mobile technology. While there is yet no officially accepted criteria to diagnose an internet addiction, researchers have identified 5 subcategories of specific types of computer and internet addictions.
A cybersex addiction is one of the more self-explanatory internet addictions. It involves online pornography, adult websites, sexual fantasy/adult chat rooms, and XXX webcam services. An obsession with any of these services can be harmful to ones ability to form real-world sexual, romantic, or intimate relationships. Treatment options are available for those with cybersex addictions, typically in the form of intervention followed by ongoing inpatient or outpatient therapy.
Net compulsions concern interactive activities online that can be extremely harmful, such as online gambling, trading stocks, online auctions , and compulsive online shopping. These habits can have a detrimental impact on ones financial stability and disrupt job-related duties. Spending or losing excessive amounts of money can also cause stress in ones relationships. With instant and easy access to online casinos and stores, it is easy for those who are already susceptible to a gambling or spending addiction to get hooked online.
Cyber Relationship Addiction
Compulsive Information Seeking
Common Questions About Rehab
Is It Actually An Addiction
Everyone has things they love to do regularly. Theres generally not much to worry about in having habits that dont cause harm or distress.
For example, playing video games for a few hours on Saturdays or regularly scoping the sale rack at Nordstrom doesnt mean you have a video game or shopping addiction.
But where is the line between a habit and addiction? Its tricky:
- A habit is something you regularly do, usually because youve practiced it or incorporated it into your routine. Doing the dishes after dinner is an example of a good habit. But habits can also involve things like chewing your nails when youre stressed.
- An addiction involves engaging in a behavior or consuming a substance because you feel a reward in doing so. With an addiction, you might know the behavior or substance is harmful to you, but youre unable to stop.
If you like to surf Reddit for 20 minutes while you drink your morning coffee, thats likely just a habit.
If you regularly find yourself unable to stop after 20 minutes and end up making yourself late for work or keeping up with important tasks, you might be dealing with something closer to an addiction.
Experts have conducted many studies in an effort to pinpoint what internet addiction looks like.
According to a , you may be experiencing an internet addiction if you spend long stretches of time online for nonwork-related activities, such as browsing the web or playing video games, and notice any of the below symptoms:
Tips For Cutting Back On Addictive Online Activities
Here are a few quick and easy tips to help you or a loved one cut back on addictive online activities:
- Turn off notifications for non-essential apps, especially social media apps and mobile games
- Dont bring your phone to bed, and if possible, stay away from screens for at least an hour before you sleep
- Turn your phone off completely when possible even just an hour a day can be liberating
- Replace your phone habits with healthier activities if you commute daily, for example, bring along a book and read instead
- Organise a real-life social get-together
The line between using tech to its full potential and developing a serious addiction can be blurred. Its up to us to recognise this risk and strike a balance.
What You Should Know About Internet Addiction
Smartphones and computers have become an intrinsic part of our lives. They are a universal means of communication, entertainment and work.
However, some people allow these gadgets to overwhelm their lives. Internet addiction is a behavioural addictionwherein a person becomes dependent on the use of online devices to cope with lifes stresses. Internet addiction is now widely recognised and acknowledged as a significant concern.
Internet addiction can also occur along with other behavioural addictions, such as work addiction, television addiction, and smartphone addiction.
Persuasive And Addictive Design
Some define Persuasive design as technology that changes human behaviour. Im not convinced about this phrasing, because any design somehow shapes use and behaviour. Id rather say that persuasion is a matter of degree. In this excellent article, service and experience designer Lennart Overkamp frames it this way:
Ethics related to persuasion is about to what extent we may influence the behavior and thoughts of our users.
So, how do we evaluate this extent, how do we identify persuasive design? Here are some powerful questions to guide our assessment:
- What is motivating the use of a given design decision?
- Are users feeling pressured?
- Would they react differently if they better understood how the product works? If it was more transparent or straightforward?
- Would they then feel deceived?
I believe the line between persuasive and addictive design lies in the frequency of the behaviour it encourages. Persuasive design might push you to make a one-time decision, while addictive design could keep you coming back. A pressing message saying that You have one hour left to get it! is persuasive design even if the statement is true: design doesnt have to be deceptive to be persuasive. A platform promoting endless badges, points and levels for you to gain, so that you keep using it day after day, is addictive.
As Tristan Harris aptly put it:
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Medication: Are There Drug Options For Internet/computer Addictions
These addictions may be triggered by underlying emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety, so medications used for those conditions can be given in the hope that treating the underlying cause will cause a cessation of the Internet or computer addiction. These medications are antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.
What Is Internet Addiction
Do you play video games on the Internet in excess? Are you compulsively shopping online? Cant physically stop checking Facebook? Is your excessive computer use interfering with your daily life relationships, work, school? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from Internet Addition Disorder, also commonly referred to as Compulsive Internet Use , Problematic Internet Use , or iDisorder. Originally debated as a real thing, it was satirically theorized as a disorder in 1995 by Dr. Ivan Goldberg, MD who compared its original model to pathological gambling. Since this hoax of sorts, the disorder has rapidly gained ground and has been given serious attention from many researchers, mental health counselors, and doctors as a truly debilitating disorder. Though not officially recognized as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , its prevalence in American and European cultures is staggering affecting up to 8.2% of the general population. However, some reports suggest it affects up to 38% of the general population. The widely variable difference in prevalence rates might be contributed to the fact that no true and standardized criteria has been selected for Internet Addiction Disorder. It is researched differently among scientists and mental health professionals. And, it is researched differently across ethnic cultures.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Excessive Internet Use
Current Psychiatry Reviews
- “Shopping” for relationships on dating sites
- Cybersex or pornography
- Social media
Many of these activities can have serious repercussions, such as relationship problems or financial consequences, if you do them to excess.
Emotional or behavioral symptoms may include:
- Inability to prioritize or keep a schedule
- Avoidance of work and negative effects on your school or job performance
- Isolation and reduced involvement with your family or friends
- Mood swings or feelings of anxiety, agitation, depression, or guilt
- Loss of sleep and feelings of apathy
- Preoccupation with being online, even when youre offline
- Taking steps to hide the extent of your computer or internet use, or lying about time spent on your device, according to GoodTherapy
Health Risks And Concerns Of Internet Addiction
Although the Internet itself does not impose harm upon a person, excessive and compulsive use leading up to and including Internet addiction does come with it a plethora of physical, cognitive, and social issues.
Some of the more common emotional symptoms associated with Internet addiction include the following:
- Feelings of euphoria when using the computer
- Inability to prioritize or keep schedules
- Dry eyes and other vision problems
- Weight gain or loss7
Although none of these symptoms are directly fatal, exacerbating symptoms leading toward suicidal or homicidal ideation and successful attempts are. As such, it is especially important to not only consider ones use of the Internet but the entire picture.
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What Causes An Addiction To Computers Or The Web
Whenever Internet addicts feel overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, lonely or anxious, they use the Internet to seek solace and escape. Studies from the University of Iowa show that Internet addiction is quite common among males ages 20 to 30 years old who are suffering from depression.
Certain people are predisposed to having a computer or Internet addiction, such as those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Their lack of emotional support means they turn to the Internet to fill this need. There are also those who have a history of other types of addiction, such as addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling. Even being stressed and unhappy can contribute greatly to the development of a computer or Internet addiction. People who are overly shy and cannot easily relate to their peers are also at a higher risk of developing a computer or Internet addiction.
Are You Dealing With Internet Addiction
If you agree with most of the statements below, it may be time to seek help:
- I think about being online almost constantly. If I’m not online, I’m thinking about the next time I can be or that last time that I was.
- I need to be online longer and longer each time before I feel satisfied.
- I have tried to control, reduce, or stop my internet use, but haven’t been able to do so successfully.
- I feel irritable or depressed when I try to reduce the amount of time that I am on the internet or when I can’t get online.
- The way I use the internet has threatened a relationship with someone I care about, my job, or my school work.
- I lose track of time when I’m online.
- I sometimes lie to important people in my life about the amount of time I spend or the types of activities I participate in on the internet.
- Being online helps me to forget about my problems or improve my mood when I’m feeling sad, anxious, or lonely.
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Worried You May Be Suffering From Internet Addiction Disorder
Take our FREE Internet addiction quiz to see if you may benefit from further diagnosis and treatment.
Just because you use the Internet a lot watch a lot of YouTube videos, shop online frequently, or like to check social media does not mean you suffer from Internet Addiction Disorder. The trouble comes when these activities start to interfere with your daily life. In general, Internet Addiction Disorder is subdivided into varying categories. The most commonly identified categories of Internet Addiction include gaming, social networking, email, blogging, online shopping, and inappropriate Internet pornography use. Other researchers suggest that it is not the amount of time spent on the Internet that is particularly troublesome rather, it is how the Internet is being used. That is, the riskiness of Internet use can be just as important as the amount of time spent. Do you have a teenager using teen dating sites that could have child molesters lurking on the site? This is risky and one of the multidimensional aspects of Internet Addiction Disorder. Other identified multi-dimensional risk factors of Internet Addiction Disorder include physical impairments, social and functional impairments, emotional impairments, impulsive Internet use, and dependence on the Internet.
Signs Of Internet Addiction: What To Watch For
While the type of use may vary, children as young as 1 or 2 are now familiar with how to navigate a tablet, while senior populations are using the Internet to retrieve and store medical information. Although there are some commonalities between and among the signs of Internet addiction for all age groups, there are some differences to consider.
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Why We Rely On Our Screens
Oxytocin is best known as the love hormone. But its also primarily a molecule of social connection. But how is this relevant to our screen use? Well, oxytocin is triggered when we use social networking apps. Our brains interpret tweeting or messaging as if were directing interacting with people we can about. Posting a photo, responding to comments, tweeting people it can all give a feeling similar to meeting with friends in person.
Dopamine is another reason weve come to somewhat depend on technology. In a social content, any positive social stimuli can result in dopamine being released almost like a reward. It reinforces the behaviour that preceded it, which includes interaction over any screen. Text messages, likes and comments, notifications they all have the potential to release dopamine.
The result tends to be short-term, addictive, dopamine-driven feedback loops. If you compulsively check for notifications, its because most apps use variable reward schedules optimised to encourage you to stay engaged. We perceive the reward to be delivered at random and end up checking habitually almost in the same way a slot machine works.
Causes Of Internet Addiction Risk Factors
As with most disorders, there isnt always a clear cause of internet addiction. However, there are likely multiple factors that contribute to the development of this disorder, some of which are rooted in nature and others that are rooted in nurture. Lets explore a few of these potential factors:
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Internet Addiction Symptoms: Do I Have Internet Addiction
We can all relate to watching one too many episodes on Netflix or staying up too late gaming. But this certainly doesnt mean were addicted to the Internet, or the specific medium at handdoes it? As with other addictions, an activity becomes problematic when it negatively affects important areas of life. With that in mind, here are the emotional symptoms of internet addiction, as well as the physical symptoms:
Quizzes And Self Diagnosis
Currently, there are numerous quizzes and self-diagnosis tools available online. One may quickly access these by searching a query such as Internet addiction test. As with any other self-diagnosis tool, it is important to proceed with caution. Mental health professionals have trained for many years to learn the art of diagnosis. These tools are best used as a measure of determining whether one may have a problem. If the test indicates that a problem is likely, then the next step recommended is to seek professional assistance as soon as possible.
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Is It Really An Addiction
Since people may be reluctant to talk about it, its difficult to know how many people enjoy porn on a regular basis, or how many find it impossible to resist.
A Kinsey Institute survey found that 9 percent of people who view porn have unsuccessfully tried to stop. This survey was taken in 2002.
Since then, its become much easier to access porn via the internet and streaming services.
This easy access makes it more difficult to stop if watching porn has become a problem.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, is used by healthcare professionals to help diagnosis mental disorders.
The DSM doesnt recognize porn addiction as an official mental health diagnosis.
But suggests that behavioral addictions are serious.
One 2015 review article concluded that internet pornography shares basic mechanisms with substance addiction.
Research comparing the brains of people who compulsively view porn to the brains of people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol has produced mixed results.
Other researchers suggest it may be more of a compulsion than an addiction.
Theres a thin difference between compulsion and addiction. Those definitions are subject to change as we learn more, according to Go Ask Alice.
Either way, if watching porn becomes problematic, there are ways to try to regain control.
Simply viewing or enjoying porn doesnt make you addicted to it, nor does it require fixing.