In every progress comes a consequence.
We are referring to the digital advancements, specifically the use of the internet, and the adverse effects it brings to our younger generation. Reports on the impact of neurological problems, psychological disorder, and social concerns have busted the lives of teenagers with Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) (Weinstein et al. 2010). Despite these claims, there is still a deliberation on whether the behavior is considered a mental health concern. In other countries such as China and South Korea, they identify internet addiction as significant public health thus initiative and strategies are placed to regulate and control internet usage.
Then again, the disagreement about the value of internet addiction, most of the medical and mental health professionals believe that internet addiction is a valid disorder and just like another addiction is worthy of much attention and concern (Cook, 2017).
To derive with medical jargon, various terms have been linked to internet addiction – “problematic internet use” (PIU) and “internet addiction disorder” (IAD) (Cook, 2017).
From the terms mentioned above, one can objectively align where the problem is. An average person will use the internet for business, school, or other personal reasons with a limited number or amount of time. The usage does not compromise the person’s other activities and relationships. A positive outcome would be that the internet was used as a tool to improve or enhance social relationships, business and work reasons, and personal improvement. Otherwise, if the effects are the opposite of these situations, then a psychological or behavioral problem exists.
By noting the times you feel tempted to indulge in an addiction, you can begin to bring more awareness to the situation. — Wendy Salazar, MFT
Clues to the Disorder
Since it is not an official psychiatric diagnosis, the following lists are obvious manifestations of persons believed to have an internet addiction.
- Excessive use of the internet via computer, smartphone, or other digital tablets
- Sleeping and eating problems brought about by continued internet browsing
- Having some fear and anxiety when there is a disconnection to the internet such as:
- Running out of battery
- Loss of power or wi-fi connection
- Forgetting the smartphone or gadget somewhere else
- Feeling naked and incomplete if not holding a smartphone or any digital device Unable to attend to any social commitments
- Feeling edgy and irritable-if cannot check social media accounts
The process of recognizing there is a problem; increasing motivation to take control; seeking support; and identifying the types of people, environments, and situations that will allow for recovery may, at times, seem impossible. — Deanna Richards, LMHC
Once this is official, the treatment for internet addiction will somehow be like that of other addiction problems. Talk therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy is best viewed to treat addiction problems. The mind is re-trained to think and make correct decisions regarding some behaviors.
Internet detox is the modern term to discipline oneself from getting rid of internet addiction. Modification of usage is the ultimate goal since internet technology can be helpful in our daily lives. Once the person regains control of his internet time and reasons for using it, then he will be allowed to use any digital tool again.
Also known by various other terms like “digital detox,” “digital Sabbath,” and “unplugging”, the idea behind a digital fast is to voluntarily and deliberately stop using all connected devices – smartphones, computers, tablets, and so on – that plug you to the internet for a pre-specified amount of time. — Utpal Dholakia Ph.D.
Create a schedule and STICK TO IT! Your counselor or therapist will encourage you to develop a plan and schedule for internet usage. As they say, to plan is easy but to follow it will take extra effort and a continuous struggle.
This is not a race. Recovering from addiction problems is not an overnight thing. You will need support from families and friend as you go through this process. Be patient and follow your doctor’s orders.
Cook, S. (2017). Technology and internet addiction: How to recognize it and recover from it. Comparitech. Retrieved 22 February 2018, from https://www.comparitech.com/internet-providers/technology-internet-addiction/