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Internet Addiction - Disorder, Types, Causes & Effects

Internet addiction disorder is a catch-all phrase for the obsessive urge to spend too much time on the internet to the extent that relations, jobs, and health suffer. Medical opinion is mixed as to whether Internet addiction may be classified as a mental condition in and of itself. Internet addiction disorder negatively impacts people's lives by producing neurological issues, psychological disruptions, and social issues. Professionals who detect internet addiction tend to label it as either an obsessive-compulsive disorder or an impulse control problem to facilitate therapy. Compulsive computer usage, pathological internet use, and online dependency describe internet addiction.

What Is Internet Addiction Disorder?

Internet addiction disorder, also known as pathological internet use, is commonly characterized as problematic, obsessive internet use that leads to considerable impairment in an individual's function in many life areas over time. Young individuals are especially vulnerable to internet addiction problems, as evidenced by case studies of pupils whose academic performance deteriorates as they spend more and more time online.

Some people experience health effects due to sleep deprivation, as they stay up longer and later to talk online, check social network status updates, or advance to the next gaming level. Internet addiction occurs when a person has a compulsive urge to spend a significant amount of time on the Internet, where other aspects of life (such as relationships, career, or health) suffer.

Is Internet Addiction A Disorder?

The World Health Organization, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the International Classification of Diseases have not recognised excessive Internet usage as a problem (ICD-11). The diagnosis of gaming disorder, on the other hand, has been included in the ICD-11. The issue is whether the condition is a distinct clinical entity or a symptom of underlying psychological problems. The subject has been handled from numerous perspectives in research, with no widely defined or approved terminology, making it challenging to generate evidence-based recommendations. Professionals who recognise internet addiction tend to label it as either an obsessive-compulsive disorder or an impulse control problem to facilitate therapy.

Because adolescents and emerging adults use the Internet more than any other age group and are more likely to overuse it, the topic of Internet behaviour disorder is especially pertinent to young people.

Types Of Internet Addiction

Internet addiction encompasses a broad spectrum of internet, computer, and mobile technology-related behaviours and impulse control issues. However, experts have identified 5 subcategories of distinct sorts of computer and internet addictions.

  • Cybersex Addiction: One of the most apparent online addictions. It includes internet pornography, adult websites, and XXX webcam services. These services might cause problems in real-life sexual, romantic, or personal relationships.
  • Net Compulsions: Online gambling, stock trading, online auctions (like eBay), and compulsive online shopping are all examples of net compulsions. These practices can harm one's financial situation and interfere with employment tasks. Excessive spending or loss of money can cause relationship stress. With rapid access to internet casinos and businesses, persons prone to gambling or spending addictions can quickly get hooked online.
  • Cyber Relationship Addiction: To develop and sustain connections online, cyber or online relationship junkies often overlook and forget about their real-life family and friends. Online relationships typically develop in chat rooms or social networking sites but can occur anywhere individuals can engage online. This recent phenomenon led to the birth of the word “catfish.”
  • Compulsive Information Seeking: The internet is a goldmine of information. For some, the ease of finding information has fueled an obsession with collecting and organising data. Obsessive-compulsive tendencies can emerge as knowledge seeking. Obsessive information searching might diminish work productivity and lead to job loss.
  • Computer/Game Addiction: Computer addiction includes online and offline activities that may be done with a computer. Games like Solitaire, Tetris, and Minesweeper were programmed into computers as they grew increasingly common. Obsessive computer game playing was soon identified as an issue in some situations. Office workers would waste a lot of time playing these games, reducing productivity. These old games are still accessible today, as are many new ones, and computer gaming addiction is still common and destructive.

What Are The Main Causes Of Internet Addiction?

Internet addiction is caused by a variety of factors. Several variables, including:

  • underlying mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, can play a role
  • genetic reasons
  • environmental aspects

When Internet addicts are feeling overwhelmed, upset, sad, lonely, or nervous, they turn to the Internet for relief and escape. According to University of Iowa research, Internet addiction is fairly widespread among guys aged 20 to 30 who are depressed. Certain persons, such as those suffering from anxiety and depression, are susceptible to developing a computer or Internet addiction.

Because they lack emotional support, they resort to the Internet to meet this need. There are also people who have a history of other sorts of addiction, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, and gambling addiction. Even being anxious and unhappy can have a significant impact on the development of a computer or Internet addiction. People who are too timid and find it difficult to relate to their friends are also more likely to acquire a computer or Internet addiction.

Internet Addiction Effects

Addiction to the Internet manifests itself in both physical and emotional symptoms; however, these characteristics may differ from person to person. These are warning signs that an addiction is on the way. It is not too late if you or a loved one exhibits these signs. We can assist you with only a phone call.

Internet addiction may have various negative physical and mental impacts on a person. Body pains, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, sleeplessness, visual issues, and weight gain/loss are just a few of the physical effects of internet addiction. Depression, dishonesty, anxiety, social isolation, anger, and mood swings are some of the emotional consequences. The volume of the brain changes as a result of internet addiction. The alterations in the brain are comparable to those caused by alcohol and cocaine addiction. IAD decreases the brain's grey and white matter fibers, causing alterations in emotional processing and cognitive functioning.

A 2016 study discovered that people diagnosed with internet addiction (through Dr Young's Internet Addiction Test) had considerably more difficulty coping with their day-to-day activities. This covered their home life, work/school responsibilities, and capacity to socialize in the real world. Individuals suffering from these addictions also had much greater despair and anxiety symptoms. There is also disagreement on whether computer, mobile phone, or online addiction is the source or result of such mental health disorders. ADHD characteristics such as trouble planning, poor time management, and higher-than-average attentional impulsivity are also frequent among internet addicts. Furthermore, persons with an addiction are more likely to have a co-occurring disease that needs specialized care and treatment.

About The Authors

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah - Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website immersse.com and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.

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