Understanding Internet Addiction Disorder

Understanding Internet Addiction Disorder - The Becoming Counseling

Internet Addiction Disorder


In a world dominated by social media posts, drama, and competition, it is no wonder the stress levels of internet users increases more and more each day. There are certainly useful tools and information to be found online and it is unrealistic to think that modern humans can function efficiently without online access.

It is possible to connect with others globally for business or pleasure and search for a job or goods and services from the comfort of your own home. What happens when this simple convenience becomes an unstoppable obsession? Compulsive and inappropriate or excessive internet use is quickly rising in prevalence among various addiction recovery and mental health counseling reports.


Internet Addiction Disorder


There are multiple ways that people use internet technology to conduct business and enjoy life. Gaming technologies including virtual reality programs and interactive gaming systems allow people to simulate real-life situations and connect with other players from around the world. When people begin to spend more time online or playing virtual reality games than they do on most other activities, they could be struggling with a form of technology addiction.

Social media and pornography are two of the main areas where adults, and increasingly adolescents, struggle with internet addiction. What starts out as innocent fun soon becomes an uncontrollable urge. Viewers want to see more and continue checking their devices for updates and performing new searches until a majority of their time is spent on the internet on meaningless tasks and status updates.


Symptoms and Signs of Addiction


Since this is a relatively new field of research and data is still pouring in, there is not yet one fully accepted definition of computer addiction or related disorders. However, there is more than enough data reported to configure a concise list of signs that a person may be addicted to internet usage. Some of the most common signs of computer addiction include:


  • Feeling an urge to be online almost constantly
  • Checking internet device more than ten times per hour
  • Feelings of anxiety without internet access
  • Losing track of time when online
  • Denial or defensive attitude, lying about internet use


These warning signs are often ignored or taken lightly when people do not realize the impact of technology addiction and the damage it can cause to the psyche. The symptoms will continue to worsen until the person becomes so disconnected from reality that they are only able to function when actively connected to the internet. This may include ignoring people in conversation by texting or checking the internet for social media posts. They become increasingly more anxious when they are away from the internet and this agitation can turn into aggressive behavior.


Suggested Treatment Options


There are several ways people find help with their internet addiction. The first step, of course, is to recognize the signs of addiction and acknowledge that a problem exists. The next step toward treatment is to determine which recovery programs best fit the prevalent disorder and the side effects that accompany the addiction.

In most cases, individuals suffering from an addiction to technology or the internet, prefer to begin treatment with therapy sessions. These may be individual or group sessions, but they comfortably open the door for people to discuss their struggle and the possible causes of internet addiction. As therapy progresses, people often discover the root cause of their addictive behavior and are able to make successful strides toward meaningful change.

One common recurring theme in recovery groups is the sense of excitement people feel when connected to the internet. This may be physical in the case of pornography, or it may be the mental stimulation of social media updates and friend activity. These feelings may represent something missing in the personal life that has been fulfilled through virtual contact.

A sense of control or mastery is another reason many internet addicts cite as the source of their erratic behavior. When people feel that their life is overwhelming or out of control in one area, they automatically seek ways to make up that loss of power in other areas. This can be done through private viewing other people online or by demanding attention from online acquaintances.


Treatment for Internet Addiction


If you have experienced signs of addiction or you believe a loved one is suffering from an internet addiction disorder, help is now available. The Becoming Counseling staff can provide the help you need to get started on a path to recovery and freedom. Contact us today for more information.

Wes Cain, LPCA, NCC, IHC



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