Under the Hood

Internet Addiction: Telltale Signs and Symptoms You Have This Disorder

You don't only play video games for leisure but you spend a lot of time on it that sometimes you forget to eat. You constantly check at least three of your social media accounts daily, compromising your efficiency at work.

You even have created profiles assuming a different identity just to check on other people's activities yet prefers to be alone.

Well, you could be suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder.

Also known as Problematic Internet Use (PIU), Compulsive Internet Use (CIU) or iDisorder, this condition alters the brain's pleasure center. According to several studies, suffering from internet addiction resembles drug or alcohol dependency.

The perceived pleasurable experience stimulates dopamine production, hence the behavior.

Addiction or dependency on the activity then builds up because of one's desire to achieve a certain pleasurable response.

However, simply checking on emails everyday for office work doesn't qualify for the disorder. Internet addiction disorder impacts personal relationships, school life or work negatively since people distance themselves from others and their social environment.

This new-age illness exhibits both emotional and physical symptoms.

Emotional symptoms of internet addiction include:

  • Anxiety, fear and agitation
  • Defensiveness
  • Dishonesty
  • Loneliness and depression
  • Euphoria when using the computer
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Inability to follow schedules
  • Isolation
  • Mood swings
  • Procrastination

While physical symptoms may manifest through:

  • Backache
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Neck Pain
  • Poor Nutrition (weight loss or weight gain)
  • Poor Personal Hygiene
  • Eye problems

Internet Addiction Disorder has recently been recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an illness that needs further research, however, a standardized tool for diagnosing such disorder is yet to be discovered. iDisorder rapidly affects people worldwide to about 38 percent from 0.3 percent.

Treating the disorder though is simple. People just have to recognize first that excessive use of the internet is a problem.

Once internet use alters social relationships and daily activities, it is about time to seek professional advice and get treated.

Engaging in psychological treatments such as individual, group or family therapy, behavior modification, art therapy, recreation therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Equine Therapy can remedy internet addiction disorder.

Surfing the Internet Teens who use the Internet a lot have higher blood pressure. Ginny CC BY-SA 2.0

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