Internet addiction refers to the loss of control and harmful use of the internet. Thus, it is an excessive dependence on the search for the use of the internet that makes a person who suffers from it take pleasure in repetitive behavior of use and withdrawal syndrome if they can’t use the internet. As in other addictions, there is also a tolerance effect characterized by an increase in the amount of time spent on the internet in order to feel good.
Withdrawal syndrome is characterized by symptoms such as psychomotor agitation, anxiety, recurrent thoughts about what will be happening on the internet, fantasies or dreams related to the internet, voluntary or involuntary movements similar to those made on a keyboard, malaise, irritability, or aggressiveness if one doesn’t have internet access or is interrupted while connected.
- Deterioration in school and work performance
- Reduced interaction with family and friends
- Loss of interest in other activities
- Anxiety or depression when one is not connected
- Angry or defensive reaction when someone comments on your behavior
- Repeated failures to control the impulse to be connected
- Adoption of measures to hide the magnitude of their use of the internet
- Problems in studies, work, and relationships
- Social isolation
- Mood disorders
- Health problems that may include headache, wrist, and joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity, among others
Internet addiction may be related to difficulties in social relationships or associated with other types of disorders. Behind this addiction, there are often problems with self-esteem and insecurity. The person is not comfortable with himself and resorts to distractions, such as technology, to hide negative emotions.
The sufferer may experience the following consequences:
- Changes in behavior and mood
- Social isolation
- Generate virtual personalities idealizing their being in order to please others both physically and psychologically
- Communication issues
- Lack of interest in other topics or activities
- Issues in academic and work performance
- Family arguments and conflicts
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Abstinence syndrome
- Sleep deprivation
- Lack of sleep
- Other medical problems such as visual and joint problems and obesity
- Ease to commit crimes encouraged by anonymity and false identities
People addicted to the Internet answer yes to some of the following questions:
- When you can’t stay connected: Do you feel anxious, moody, depressed, or irritable?
- Do you make repeated unsuccessful attempts to control or reduce internet use?
- Do you stay connected longer than you initially proposed?
- Do you have thoughts about what is happening on the internet?
- Do you ever use the internet to escape or get away from your problems or negative moods?
- Do you lie to your family or other people to hide your degree of involvement with the internet?
In the most serious cases, it is always advisable to undergo psychological treatment to treat Internet addiction. This treatment will focus on the following things:
- Increase self-confidence
- Get the patient to relearn how to interact with tech and make moderate use of the internet
- Develop the patient’s social skills
- Reteaching how to allocate time to productive and healthy activities
- Teach self-control techniques
- Increase the performance of healthy activities
- Learn to manage stress
- Promote face-to-face interpersonal relationships
- Foster self-esteem
Consider treatment when there is a problem and go to a professional.