Structure Your Time Wisely
Your schedule is important, so make sure you don’t leave room for error. This doesn’t mean you should never allow yourself to use the Internet again. To the contrary, you may want to simply try giving yourself certain time allotments for Internet use. This will stop your craving and make you feel good about yourself for being more in control of your time. Just make sure to follow your schedule.
What Are The Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder may present themselves in both physical and emotional manifestations. Some of the emotional symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder may include:
- Feelings of Euphoria when using the Computer
- Inability to Prioritize or Keep Schedules
- Dry Eyes and other Vision Problems
- Weight Gain or Loss
What are the effects of Internet Addiction Disorder? If you are suffering from this disorder, it might be affecting your personal relationships, work life, finances, or school life. Individuals suffering from this condition may be isolating themselves from others, spending a long time in social isolation and negatively impacting their personal relationships. Distrust and dishonesty issues may also arise due to Internet addicts trying to hide or deny the amount of time they spend online. In addition, these individuals may create alternate personas online in an attempt to mask their online behaviors. Serious financial troubles may also result from avoidance of work, bankruptcy due to continued online shopping, online gaming, or online gambling. Internet addicts may also have trouble developing new relationships and socially withdraw as they feel more at ease in an online environment than a physical one.
How The Internet Is Used Matters
Psychiatrist with Mindpath Health, , says, “Basically living during a pandemic increases the risk of Internet usage and Internet addiction. Internet addiction increases the risk of depression and anxiety.”
Lagoy notes, “Readers can start making changes immediately to prevent Internet addiction and make their lives better. Internet addiction has increased during the pandemic and those with internet addiction are at more risk of mental illness, however, it fails to answer why.”
Since human beings are social creatures, Lagoy explains that they need to have friendships and feel like they belong in a community. “If we are addicted to the Internet, this causes us to be alone all the time, which is detrimental to the overall wellbeing,” he says.
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Start The Dopamine Detox
This last one is a bit controversial and thats ok. I dont expect everyone to do it. In the past couple of years, many people in various self-improvement niches have been calling for and pushing for a concept known as the dopamine detox or dopamine fast. This is a mode and state of being where you limit or completely eliminate sources that stimulate an unnatural dopamine response.
Of course, this is a lot of things that involve the Internet in some way such as social media, gaming, or mindless Internet browsing. The real purpose of this is to get you motivated and get you hooked on things that dont involve unnecessary stimulation. This is how people in the past lived and how they were motivated to do things in the real world. People today might find it unnecessary and just will not do it.
In Charles Duhiggs book The Power of Habit, he speaks of certain habits being activated by certain triggers and cues.
For example, your alarm clock rings you either get up out of bed or hit the snooze button. Your alarm clock is a trigger.
Since the brain is a large network of interconnected nodes, neurons, synapses, and axons, that makes the brain similar to a chain. One thought triggers another thought, which triggers another thought. This creates a series of related actions. This is largely subconscious, once it reaches the point of habit.
Ive written a deep dive into the dopamine detox, check it out if that interests you.
How Do Addictions Typically Arise
Addictions manifest in our lives in a multitude of ways. People, for instance, indulge in alcohol addiction, food addiction, television addiction, video game addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction, porn addiction, work addiction, shopping addiction, social media addiction, hoarding addiction, to name just a few. All these addictions arise from specific life circumstances that trigger compulsive behaviors.
An addiction can, for instance, arise from unexpected social, emotional or environmental pressures. Sudden changes in our environment, family circumstances, or work conditions can threaten our comfort, security, and way of life. When under threat, we succumb to painful emotions that prevent us from dealing with the situation in optimal ways.
Dwindling self-confidence, low self-esteem, and a strong desire to relieve anxiety and stress, drive us toward compulsive habits and behaviors that we use as a coping mechanism to deal with the uncertainties of life. These behaviors provide us with a sense of control, while at the same time redirecting our attention away from our problems.
Sometimes, though, addictions arise because of a desire to feel important or to fit in with our surroundings. We want to win people over and be accepted as part of a community or group, and as a result, we indulge in behaviors that we feel will help us win other peoples approval.
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Is It Masking A Mental Health Disorder
When a child seems unhealthily focused on video games, to the point of social isolation, the behavior may be, rather than addiction, a product of other mental health problems.
Dr. Anderson reports that he finds himself saying to parents, We understand your hypothesis that your kid is addicted to games, but it may be that he is socially anxious. It may be that he is depressed. It may be that he has a learning disorder.
Dr. Anderson recalls treating a 16-year-old whose mother was adamant that he was addicted to video games. I was doing in-home sessions with him, and it was, indeed, very hard to get him off playing Call of Duty to even have the session. But what I realized very quickly was that he had both ADHD and depression, and he had been failing school for as long as he could remember.
Once his ADHD and depression got appropriate treatment, he was able to cut back on Call of Duty, and make offline friends. He joined the football team at school. His grades improved, said Dr. Anderson. In that sense, it was treatment of internet addiction through treatment of the actual underlying conditions.
It Starts With Cultivating Awareness And Radical Honesty
Take a clear eyed assessment of your mental state: What is your current state of mind? Do you suffer from anxiety? Are you prone to catastrophic thinking? Are you thinking clearly? Are the reasons for action/inaction in your life actually excuses? What are you hiding from? Where in your life have you given up responsibility and authorship? Do you think you can control your feelings? Do you believe your thoughts are real, and that you are the one thinking them? Do you think thought loops or thought habits can be changed, and that you can change yours? Do you think you can make changes in your life? Do you think you can improve your life? Do you think you are worth the effort?
Make a real, true and compassionate assessment of how you feel right now. How you think and how you feel are not always the same. Do you feel you can improve your life? Do you feel in control of your actions? Do you feel you can control your thoughts? Do you feel its worth the effort? Do you feel you are worth the effort?
How much do you value your sanity and wellbeing? Honestly? And how does that translate into your actions? You can look at your actions and choices and they will tell you what you value. Its a true measure. What are they telling you?
After making your assessments , go back and read your initial questions. What do you notice, what do you hear in your own writing?
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Why Is Digital Media Addiction Harmful
Health professionals often state that too much sitting is the new smoking. However, perhaps it is more worrying is what people normally do when seated. Like, mindlessly browsing through social media accounts when they have a few free minutes. And, as we presumably instinctively understand, and as researchers confirm, this is a harmful practice for our collective psyche.
Here are a few most terrific impacts social media addiction can bring upon peoples overall health.
Exercise Improves Cns Structure And Connectivity
Long-term exercise promotes prefrontal cortex growth and improves learning, memory, and cognition . A 6-month randomized trial reported a positive correlation between prefrontal cortex volume and exercise . This volume increase may relieve internet addiction as well as concurrent cognitive disorders . Similarly, exercise and good fitness level are associated with larger hippocampal volume . Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for 12 months increased hippocampal volume by about 2% in one study . This increase in volume is most obvious in the front part of the hippocampus, which is related to emotion and motivation. Exercise can also serve as an adjuvant therapy to reduce hippocampal apoptosis and oxidative stress-induced neuronal injury . In these ways, long-term physical exercise may be effective against internet addiction in part because it increases the volume of hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
Exercise promotes functional connections between the fronto-parietal and fronto-executive networks of the brain, which are related to the default mode network and cognitive control . In a review of nine studies, exercise was found to alter the default mode network . Exercise also alters functional connections in attention, salience, and executive networks . In this way, improving functional connections among regional networks in the brain may help explain how exercise-based interventions can help alleviate internet addiction.
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Set Reasonable Rules And Boundaries
Many parents get angry when they see the signs of internet addiction in their child and take the computer away as a form of punishment. Others become frightened and force their child to quit cold turkey, believing that is the only way to get rid of the problem. Both approaches invite troubleyour child will internalize the message that they are bad they will look at you as the enemy instead of an ally and they will suffer real withdrawal symptoms of nervousness, anger, and irritability. Instead, work with your child to establish clear boundaries for limited internet usage. Allow perhaps an hour per night after homework, with a few extra weekend hours. Stick to your rules and remember that youre not trying to control your child or change who they areyou are working to help them free themselves from a psychological dependence. Finally, make the computer visible. Create a rule that non-homework-related computer usage should only happen in more public areas of the home, where your child is more likely to interact with you or other members of the household.
Find the right cybersecurity solution for you.
Replacing Smartphones With Meaningful Habits
People who get tempted to check their phones during downtimes should divert their attention elsewhere. One should trade in a smartphone for an activity that brings value to one’s life. For instance, making a cup of coffee rather than browsing Facebook, or reading a book instead of watching someones vacation video. If people can substitute thoughtless activity with something meaningful to themselves, it will make a huge difference.
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What Are The Effects Of Internet Addiction
Internet addiction is similar to other types of addictions because it interrupts your real-life relationships with friends and family. Time away from real-life relationships can cause you to be socially awkward because you havent practiced your social skills with real people.
Internet addiction can also cause:
- Dry eyes from looking at a screen for a long time
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
A Six Step Process For Overcoming Addictions
Overcoming an addiction is never an easy or straightforward process. It requires conscious work, effort and time. There are however six steps you can follow that can help you overcome just about any addiction you may face.
Working through these six steps, however, doesnt replace the value you will gain from seeking professional help. Therefore, if in doubt, always seek guidance from a counselor or therapist.
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How Do You Treat Internet Addiction
Covering specific techniques for the treatment of Internet addiction.
The hardest issue to overcome in terms of treatment is breaking through an Internet addict’s denial of the problem. Similar to alcoholism, the Internet addict must first realize the addiction and be motivated to seek help.
Many people believe the only way to cure Internet addiction is to pull the plug, cut the modem wire, or throw out the computer. But think again. You don’t have to go “cold turkey” in order to deal with this disorder. Since the Internet is a productive tool when used properly, it important to find a balance between Internet use and other life activities. The treatment model is similar for eating disorders or controlled drinking programs. The focus being to identify triggers which onset binge-behavior and re-learning how to use it in moderation.
Unlike physical addictions like alcoholism, Internet addiction does not require abstinence for a healthy and life-enhancing recovery. To help in that recovery process, the book “Caught in the Net” provides practical tools and dozens of intervention techniques. Special emphasis is given to additional outside resources that are becoming available to treat this addiction and which can help Internet junkies stay on track in the months and years ahead.
Techniques for the Treatment of Internet Addiction
Please contact our Virtual Clinic if you think you have a problem with controlling your Internet use .
Limit Your Computer And Smartphone Use
Next, you need to alter your behaviors. The best way to do this is to take control of your Internet use. To demonstrate, use a kitchen timer and set it for 30 minutes to limit your network session. Once that timer sounds, get up and move away from your computer smartphone or video game.
Setting a timer will help limit your use and free you up for more important endeavors. You can also limit your computer use by setting network session preferences or using parental control software. Though this software is essentially for kids, you can also use the software – especially with the help of a family or friend – to limit your computer usage.
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Understand Why You Are Giving It Up
You dont have to have a porn addiction in order to decide that you are giving up porn. You could be doing so for religious or ethical reasons. You could also be doing so because its causing a rift between you and a romantic partner or simply because you just no longer want to watch porn.
Coming to terms with the reason you are giving it up, helps you stay accountable whenever you are tempted to watch it.
Admit You Have A Problem
It takes courage to admit you have a computer addiction. Although it is not an addictive drug necessarily, Internet addiction comes with the same kind of denial experienced with excessive drug-use. While this is the hardest step, it’s also the first step towards solving the problem. By verbalizing you have a problem, you bring clarity to your mind because you are being honest. This honesty can help you realize how unhealthy your Internet behaviors were.
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How To Treat Internet Addiction
Behavioral addictions and substance use disorders often respond positively to the same psychosocial and pharmacological treatments.6 Common interventions that have been used to treat behavioral addictions like internet addiction include:6
- 12-step approaches
- Motivational enhancement
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Although no medications have been approved to treat internet addiction, naltrexone, a medication used to treat alcoholism and opioid addiction, has shown promise for the treatment of pathological gambling.6
If the internet addiction is severe, formal treatment programs are available, with inpatient rehab being the most intensive and structured option. A stay at an inpatient treatment center can last from 30 days to several months. For more flexibility, individuals can receive internet addiction treatment on an outpatient basis, which involves living at home and attending treatment sessions during the day.
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment for internet addiction may include:7
What Are Kids Doing Online
The amount of time teenagers typically spend on phones and other devices can be misleading as a measure of whether they are unhealthily engaged. Thats because many of the things kids do on those devices are age-appropriate activities that in the past have been done offline: socializing with peers, exploring personal interests, shopping, listening to music, doing schoolwork, watching movies or TV.
Texting and use of social media sites, for instance, have become important channels for adolescents connecting to others and being validated. Role-playing games allow kids to interact not only with friends, but to people around the world. A 2016 report by Common Sense Media concluded: What looks like excessive use and distraction is actually a reflection of new ways of maintaining peer relations and engaging in communities that are relevant to them.
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Think: Limit Your Attention To A Single Application At A Time
This is an extremely simple app thats akin to Spaces on a Mac. When activated, Think allows you to bring just one application into the foreground on your computer, while everything else is hidden underneath a nearly opaque backdrop. While you can easily shift between other applications when you need to, it creates a clean space for focusing on the task at hand.