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Overview

Internet Addiction - Treatment, Symptoms and Causes

What is Internet Addiction ?

Sitting in the metro, or alone in your room late at night, witnessing an entire party through the lens of your mobile camera, being next to the love of your life in that movie theatre or over dinner and yet, still not being there – If at all these situations you are tempted to scroll through your feed, update your status, watch that random video, or just chat with someone across the screen rather than the one across yourself, you have an issue, that’s nowadays referred to as ‘INTERNET ADDICTION’.

You never know when your acceptable urge to reply to that text message, or see what’s going on with a friend’s life, or checkout what’s getting viral or trendy, escalates to levels where unanswered urges start taking over you and your activities.  As we advance and grow varied in our activities, indulgences, and hobbies, so does the potential of associated negative traits! So while the world goes on in its full fletched form, you merely see, receive and feel parts of it; whence it is filtered through a screen.

Causes of Internet Addiction .

Although it may seem apparent that this addiction is merely the result of long hours spent on the net to an extent that it becomes compulsive for the individual, but it’s much deeper than that. Studies have shown those suffering from problematic net use, often suffer from other minor or major disorders as well, including (but not limited to) depression, social/mental/professional anxiety or other addictions including compulsive gambling, overeating, alcoholism or other chemical/drug dependencies. Thus, although in majority of cases this isn’t the root or the main problem at hand, but it does translate into serious, long and short term impacts on the life and health of the addict; physical, mental as well as social. But this does not imply that this addiction cannot be find in isolation in certain subjects. Young adolescents and children, who have grown up in environments wherein the major exposure is derived through mobile, laptop or TV screens, often suffer from an unexplained craving to go back to the familiarity, safety and control of screens than to face a random, uncontrollable yet real world!

What is the symptoms of Internet Addiction ?

 Like any other addiction, the first symptom that should strike oneself are random uncontrolled urges to check out your screen/texts/social media feed/viral and popular content or indulge in virtual gameplay/gambling sites. Although this addiction does manifest itself with other symptoms as well, which can include –

Backache, headaches and neck pain arising from improper and forced body postures over long hours in front of screens.

Insomnia, dry eyes and other vision problems from continuous focus on a non-naturally lit surface.

Poor nutrition and poor personal hygiene rooting out of continued lethargy that arises from lack of physical activity, awareness and wellness.


Treatment of Internet Addiction .

There have been a few scientific and medical approaches towards counselling victims of this relatively new form of addiction:

A special therapy known as Cognitive behavior therapy has been designed to help individuals learn how to control their thoughts and feelings. This approach involves helping the patient to acknowledge the existence of the problem in the first place and then help him identify the issues and impacts the problem is creating! Then identifying what triggers excessive use of the internet and the third part is applying the same to problems that the patient avoids by indulging him/herself in the internet!

also a self corrective pattern associated with this addiction. But this is a slow and not an entirely guaranteed treatment!

All things said and done, there’s no substitute to willpower and a willingness to improve for the better. A determined mind knows (or ultimately finds) its way out of every situation it finds itself in.

Prevention to avoid Internet Addiction .

Although it may not sound as the worst of the things one can get addicted to, yet still, an addiction is an addiction, which has consequences and impacts.

The most obvious and probably the most disastrous effect is the impact that this addiction has on your social life and interaction with the real world. Whilst we are lost in the false sense of comfort amidst the screens, the real world out there is advancing, learning, growing and happening!

Thus, prevention becomes a necessity. Encouraging young children to explore outsides practically rather than through the screens, avoiding any sort of indulgence in everlasting virtual online games, gambling, pornography, trivial viral videos etc. are the most basic steps one can take in this direction.

Realize the outer, real world is better than the virtual one.

Pick a hobby

Hangout with your friends

Limit your time on the screen.

Withdrawal symptoms of Internet Addiction .


The first and the foremost withdrawal symptom of quitting any addiction is an increased urge to get back to the escape and the blissful solace. An addict might not initially find the real world amusing, entertaining or controllable enough when he/she gets back to it, and hence might wish to turn back to a familiar screen of comfort and amusement. However, as (s)he gradually indulges in a more real version of life than the virtual one, (s)he whilst enjoying the benefits of a mentally, physically and socially healthier life can slowly but surely give-up on this interaction ruining addiction.

Popular Health Tips

Internet & Phone Addiction - Can It Be A Sign Of A Medical Condition?

MBBS, DPM
Psychiatrist, Ranchi
Internet & Phone Addiction - Can It Be A Sign Of A Medical Condition?

"Get off the mobile and go outside," are these words being heard more commonly nowadays, than at any other point in time in life? The answer could be frighteningly real as humanity has just stepped in one of the newest forms of a psychiatric disorder. What's worse is that the medical world is divided whether if this should be considered as a disease and separate field to be dedicated to it or simply pass it off as a generation growth that the future has to embrace.

Let us look a little deeper about the disorder and the serious nature that it indicates.

What is internet & phone addiction?
Only recently did Internet addition and phone addition become part of the diagnostic and statistical manual of the mental disorder - Meaning that internet addiction is now effectively considered a psychiatric disorder and there are chances of identifying and treating it using medically approved means. As the name suggests, internet addiction and phone addiction means that the person is using his creative and designated time on the medium when he is no longer required to. Simply put it becomes an obsessive habit on the part of the person to look into the phone and use the internet as a routine activity. Long-term addiction can lead to many psychological factors such as withdrawal symptoms, depression, and general loss of awareness about the surroundings. For most people, the syndrome can be an underlying factor of an even more severe health condition that the person is trying to mask by whiling away his time with the internet and the mobile. Across the people who get affected by it, the common traits are the internet gaming and social media.

The addiction in today’s world:
The velocity of the disorder is yet to take on the world. As of now only two countries- South Korea and China have identified the disorder as a disease and treatments are administered. Europe and United States have just categorized it as a disorder and research is being done on it. The general treatment plan that exists now aims to understand the patient first. The psychiatric treatment tries to successfully make a minor bridge between the user and his addiction. From practicing different time of using the internet to suggesting new schedules and goals, the person can be slowly be eased backed into the society. The purpose of the psychiatric treatment is not to block the internet/ mobile usage completely but to limit them. A person is educated to get his satisfaction in other forms like relations ships, outdoor activities than to depend on the internet. Apart from it some depression reducing drugs can also be had at the insistence of the psychiatrist.

Medical Possibilities
Professors argue that Internet addiction and mobile addiction is not exactly a disease. It simply determines an underlying medical condition of a person that needs more treatment. Though still in its early stages the medical world has made it clear that its contribution towards these mental addictions would increase by massive miles within the turn of the decade. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

 

2663 people found this helpful

How Mobile Phone Addiction Affects People?

MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
Homeopath, Akola
How Mobile Phone Addiction Affects People?

The advent of smartphones has made mobile phones far more pervasive in your life. You can now remain connected with friends and family on social media for much longer, share your life events through pictures and videos, stay on track with professional information and generally remain updated about information from all around the world. However, this constant barrage of information and the over dependence on the smartphone for work and personal affairs has taken epidemic proportions where people are unable to log off. It has now been classified as a general anxiety disorder commonly known as nomophobia which is "the fear or being away from your cellphone".

Addiction and the validity of Nomophobia

While cell phone addiction is a valid disorder, the designation of nomophobia is loosely attributed to the anxiety disorders connected to not being able to use cell phones. It’s less of a phobia and more of an addiction as you cannot be without it. These can be better enumerated by the typical symptoms when not being able to use a mobile phone.

Symptoms of mobile phone addiction: 

  1. The ability to spend hours and hours on the cell phone without realizing how much time has passed by.
  2. Forced attempts to separate from the cell phone result in more time being spent with it (akin to a drug addiction).
  3. Incremental usages in a number of hours as you end up spending more and more hours on the phone.
  4. Personal and professional lives being hampered due to excessive mobile phone usage.
  5. Surfacing of withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, anger and depression.

How mobile phone addiction affects people?

Different age groups are affected differently by mobile phone addiction; although some of the symptoms are fairly common. The effect tends to be far more severe on children and teenagers. Let’s look at how different age groups are affected by mobile phone addiction:

Children – Increasingly, younger children are carrying cellphones, especially smartphones. This tends to disrupt their lives as they get easily distracted and thus addicted to chatting with friends and connecting on social media. With children, appetite as well as mental development, is also hindered. In a study in the U.K., it was found that young children with mobile phones had less nutritional intake and thus had lesser and slower physical development than normal. It also affects their eyes. Direct exposure to blue light – like the one that comes from cellphone screens – can cause damage to the retina of the eye.

Teenagers –

  • Development: Apart from the similar problems mentioned with children, the performance in school tends to suffer the most along with other developmental disabilities in the brain. The human brain is still forming till the age of 25 and many of the finer faculties that develop during the teenage years get badly affected. Holistic development like hobbies, sports, communication skills are greatly hindered.
  • Information overload: Teenagers also tend to be very impressionable and thus are at a risk of predation from sources all-round the internet. While aggressively watching porn, the adolescent brain is being shaped around a sexual experience that is isolating, visceral, and completely void of any love or compassion. This has the potential to lead to great problems in sexual compulsivity and sex addiction throughout the adolescent boy's life because his brain gets shaped to expect the "heroin-like" porn dopamine rush from all of his real-life sexual experiences. 
  • Peer pressure: Teenagers seek more and more expensive phones in order to compete or to fit in with the crowd. this not only puts more financial strain on the parents but also leads to disharmony at home.
  • Friends! Let's stay connected: Very often parents complain that their teenager can do nothing else but sit by their mobile phone waiting for calls or text messages. They no longer communicate with family members and its not uncommon! Catching teenagers staying up till early hours of the morning texting or talking with friends. Their studies greatly suffer, hobbies no longer take priority and problems like irritability, poor concentration, bunking classes and other health issues are on alarming rise due to lack of sleep.
  • Emotional issues: In the era where assignments, notes, outing plans, party invites and important messages are passed on in Whatsapp groups. Getting a phone call or a text message implies an importance, ‘Somebody wants Me’!! It boosts the receivers self-esteem and self-worth. The phone also feeds the desire for attention, acceptability and satisfies a teenager’s emotional drive.
  • Life on Social media: Nowadays teenagers are more focussed on their Vitual lives rather than enjoying the real moments. Their Life and happiness is all about social display of every single activity and number of likes and comments on posted pictures/ status.This is particularly true for teenagers who are struggling with their identity and social status. Phone usage does not only increase the opportunity to bond with friends and to organise a social life on the move, it also provides a symbol for acceptance. This is important to a teenager’s individuality and confidence. The mobile phone feeds the personal requirements of a teenager - they provide a sense of worth ensuring popularity.
  • Strained relation with parents: A great number of teens do not let anyone touch their phones. Most teenagers turn rebellious and aggressive when parents try to limit their mobile usage. When they lose their phones, they show signs of aggression which results in constant mood swings, feeling of unhappiness, and irritation on little things.

Adults – Adults, in general, tend to suffer more from disruptions at work as well as problems in their personal lives. Shortening of attention spans, irritable behavior, fatigue, inability to communicate, breakdowns in spousal relationships or even with friends and family are fairly common consequences. However, the biggest concern is the contribution to depression and anxiety which may run into non-mobile phone related extensive disorders as well.

  • Communication Gap in Marriage: Believe it or not, smartphones are damaging and even ending relationships. If you are emotionally attached to your smartphone and rely on it every waking minute, it may be harming your relationship. Psychologists claim that increasing numbers of people in long-term partnerships are having to compete with their partner’s smartphone for attention, making it the ‘third wheel’ in their relationship. A survey found that almost three quarters of women in committed relationships feel that smartphones are interfering with their love life and are reducing the amount of time they spend with their partner. Spouses spend more time in social networkings like Whatsapp, Facebook and days passby without talking to each other. Do you really remember your spouse's phone number or have you just saved it in your iPhone?
  • Impact on Child Bearing: Parents stay so busy with their mobiles that they don't spend quality time with their children and fill in the Lacunae by splurging on costly gifts and give them tablets/TV for passing kissing their spare time. 

Mobile Use During Driving And Safety Hazards

There is considerable concern that using a mobile phone while driving creates a significant accident risk, to the user and to other people on the road, because it distracts the driver, impairs their control of the vehicle and reduces their awareness of what is happening on the road around them. When using a hand-held mobile phone, drivers must remove one hand from the steering wheel to hold and operate the phone. They must also take their eyes off the road, at least momentarily, to pick up and put down the phone and to dial numbers.While using a hand-held phone, the driver must continue to simultaneously operate the vehicle (steer, change gear, use indicators, etc) with only one hand.

Some tips for de-addiction

Some easy tips that you can follow to start your de–addiction process are mentioned below –

  1. Ensure that the first 30 minutes of the day after waking up are only for you. Don’t be tempted to look at the phone immediately after you wake up.
  2. Create specific no phone time zones in a day where no matter how big the urge is, you don’t check your phone. These could be during any time of the day and try incrementally stretching the amount of time that you can be without your phone each time.
  3. Use driving as an excuse to turn off your phone. This not only helps in fighting addiction but also lowers the chances of automobile accidents caused due to distracted driving.
  4. Keep a cutoff time for phone usage and switch your phone off at least an hour before your hit the sack. This will stop you from playing late night games and help you sleep better as well. When you feel the urge to check your phone, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
6134 people found this helpful

Internet Addiction - 6 Signs Your Child Is Suffering From It!

MBBS, DNB (PSYCHIATRY), PG Diploma In Clinical Cosmetology (PGDCC)
Psychiatrist, Delhi
Internet Addiction - 6 Signs Your Child Is Suffering From It!

Internet addiction is a very recent phenomenon, but is already a cause for concern. With the advent of various social networking websites, people are increasingly becoming addicted to the internet. Internet addiction disorder is often characterized by people inching to form an emotional attachment with people and activities, all of them online. You may enjoy connecting to people more over the virtual interface instead of the real world; this usually stems from an inability to establish real human contact.

The symptoms of internet addiction disorder are:

  1. Excessive usage of the internet
  2. Depression, mood swings and irritability if one doesn’t get access to the internet
  3. Any effort to reduce internet usage is usually unsuccessful
  4. You may experience constant problems in personal relationships, education and your job due to incessant internet usage
  5. A tendency of lying to close ones when they ask you how much time you spend over the internet
  6. Using internet to escape from real world problems

Further complications
Internet addiction can gradually isolate you. You may develop an aversion to meeting and communicating with people in real life. This can impair your social skills and make you socially awkward. This disorder also create problems in relationships as it can reduce the time you spend interacting personally.

Internet addiction may also lead you to create online personas to evade low self-esteem issues. This actually aggravates the problem instead of solving it; can result in severe anxiety and depression. Withdrawal symptoms might result in anxiety, depression, irritation and loneliness. This disorder can lead to complications such as dry eyes, headaches, change in sleep patterns and subsequent problems in falling asleep. Back pain from sitting upright while you are on the internet is also very common problem. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3501 people found this helpful

Excessive Use Of Mobile Phones - How They Are Risking The Lives Of Our Children?

Counselling Psychologist
Psychologist, Thane
Excessive Use Of Mobile Phones - How They Are Risking The Lives Of Our Children?

The most advanced and effective communication device in this century is mobile phone. Mobile phone is not only being used by the corporate or highly qualified professional. People from all type of social group have mobile phone in their hands now. Usage of the mobile phone is not increased only with all social groups but also with people of all age groups. Children are the more noticeable group as they are using cell phones of all types. A recent research study shows that children are really capable of using any advanced type of mobile phones even without any proper guidance. Though mobile phones are the effective mode of communication, it is a well known fact that it also has adverse side effects if being over used. The mobile phones emit shockwave radioactive radiations that affect the body in various manners.

Adverse effects of mobile phone usage:

Today's children are growing up in a radio-frequency environment that never existed in human history before. The radiation emitted by mobile phones and mobile phone masts can have adverse effects on children. Some include:

  1. Affects your Immunity Status: cell phones after a full day usage contains many germs on their display which are highly numbered than your toilet seats. These germs are easily transferred to your body as you touch frequently or use close to your face for talking. This increases the risk of exposure to the germs and reduces your immune strength as immune status are not fully developed for children.
  2. Increase Risk of Chronic Pains: prolonged use of mobile phones for playing games or texting requires continuous movement for your hands which may develop chronic pain in joints of your hands and shoulders.
  3. Vision Problem: children when concentrate much on playing games in mobile phone they even fail to blink frequently with the increased interest and attraction towards the game. This causes the dryness of the conjunctiva and also increases the ocular tension.
  4. Affects your emotions negatively and increases the stress level

Mobile Phone Safety For Kids:

As a parent, you must take preventive measures to minimize your child's exposure to the harmful effects of mobile phones. These include:

  • Do not give cell phone if your child is under 16 years. A child's brain is too sensitive to withstand the effects of mobile radiation.
  • Do not let your child hold a mobile phone directly up to his head. Use an air-tube headset instead.
  • Do not let your child make calls in buses, trains, cars, and elevators. The mobile phone works harder to get the signal out through the metal, which increases the power level.
  • Do not let your child use cell phone when the signal is weak. It will increase the power to the maximum, as the phone attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.
  • Limit the use of cell phone around children.
  • Make sure that there is no mobile phone mast or network tower near your home or your kid's school.
  • Do not let children take mobile phones to school.
  • Do not leave mobile phones in your children's bedroom at night.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2618 people found this helpful

Gadget Addiction - A Sign Of Depression!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Psychologist, Delhi
Gadget Addiction - A Sign Of Depression!

The Smartphone addiction has got all hooked. With millions of apps catering to your different needs, smileys, emoticons and memes instead of relying on words to express what you feel and getting to know the whole world at one tap, you feel severely addicted to your Smartphone. But, is that a healthy sign? On introspection, you will probably find that you spend more time over the virtual domain through the social networking sites rather than having a heart-to-heart with your family and friends.

Of late, smartphones are being held responsible for causing depression as a result of increased isolation. Let’s find out whether the theory is well propounded or not.

  1. One of the major signs of depression is lack of adequate sleep. Sticking to your smartphone till the wee hours of the morning affects your level of concentration, resulting in anxiety and a bad temper.
  2. When you spend a lot of time on the gadgets, you slowly compromise on your thinking capacity. You take everything internet serves you as granted without clarifying. With every piece of information available on the internet, there is nothing left for you to imagine or create.
  3. Addiction to social networking sites is taking away all your creative potentials; and on one fine day, when you discover this, you might feel increasingly disillusioned, resulting in depression.
  4. One of the worst causes of depression is cyber bullying. The virtual world might welcome you with all kinds of threats and humiliation and this happens majorly on the social networking sites. As a result, you feel your self-confidence is at stake, resulting in severely low self-esteem and subsequent depression.
  5. Abandoning your smartphone completely is utopian, because they serve needful purposes as well. But, what you can do is limit the time you spend on the device and replace it with something creative. Otherwise, it might not be too late before you start silently sliding into depression.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4307 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am so much Internet addicted. Always be in youtube facebook what's app. I can't do anything without Internet. I am really afraid of this. Suggest me what should I do.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Internet addiction, social media addiction, Sex thoughts, Sex addiction, masturbation addiction, porn films addiction etc comes under behavior addiction. Behavioral addiction is a form of addiction that involves a compulsion to engage in a rewarding non-drug-related behavior – sometimes called a natural reward – despite any negative consequences to the person's physical, mental, social or financial well-being. Behavior addiction needs to be curbed or controlled using your own self will power. Diverting your mind and body away from the circumstances which compels you for the addictive habit, with the help of physical exercises, games, entertainment etc can help you. Never sleep alone. Be always with your family even at night etc are some other tips. Willpower is the key always. Behavioral therapy also works well. Take care.
1 person found this helpful

I think I got addiction of using Internet now a days .hw can I get rid of it. As in free tym I think of doing noting except it.

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
You have to use willpower and divert mind other useful things .You can read books and listen to music .
1 person found this helpful

My friend addicted to masturbating is this bad? All are saying is masturbating is not good even I have seen in internet is this really bad?

MBBS, MD - NEUROPSYCHIATRY
Psychiatrist, Bangalore
Masturbation is a healthy way to get sexual pleasure before marriage. It is something like passing urine when you have adequate urine in bladder.
6 people found this helpful

I'm extremely addicted in mobile Internet. My performance in studies is getting down day by day. Please help me.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Mobile addiction, Sex thoughts, Sex addiction, masturbation addiction, porn films addiction etc comes under behavior addiction. Behavioral addiction is a form of addiction that involves a compulsion to engage in a rewarding non-drug-related behavior – sometimes called a natural reward – despite any negative consequences to the person's physical, mental, social or financial well-being. Behavior addiction needs to be curbed or controlled using your own self will power. Diverting your mind and body away from the circumstances which compels you for the addictive habit, with the help of physical exercises, games, entertainment etc can help you. Never sleep alone. Be always with your family even at night etc are some other tips. Willpower is the key always. Behavioral therapy also works well. Take care.
1 person found this helpful

I am addicted to playing games in mobiles and PC please tell how to become de- addict from mobiles and internet what to do.

M.Sc - Psychological Counseling, B.A ( Hons) - Psychology
Psychologist, Delhi
Hello lybrate-user, its simple, set an alarm before you sit dow to play a game. When the alarm rings remmeber it is your time to stop playing and go to the next activity that you've scheduled for yourself. Remember self-disciplining enhahnces your self-esteem, so, practice self-discipline.
1 person found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Internet Addiction ?
Causes of Internet Addiction .
What is the symptoms of Internet Addiction ?
Treatment of Internet Addiction .
Prevention to avoid Internet Addiction .
Withdrawal symptoms of Internet Addiction .
Play video
Internet And Gedget Addiction
The present generation of the teens is leading, more or less, a robotic life. They are the slaves to the electronic gadgets.It may lead to obesity,aggression,depression and a disturbed routine. So its suggested to reduce the time spent on surfing internet.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice