The Addictions of the Internet
Today, the internet has become such a mammoth part of our daily lives that the case is now becoming that it is nearly impossible to see the forest through the trees, if you know what I mean. We use the web on our phones and computers, our cars and home appliances, from shopping to security and everything in-between. Getting and staying in touch with friends and family from around the globe while doing some shopping is both rewarding and satisfying. But just how dangerous is the constant “web” that keeps us entangled in the rung of the online world? And how does this effect the you and me of today?
What is Internet Addiction?
Like any addiction, internet addiction has been vaguely described as an impulse control disorder, although it does not make use of intoxicating substances. It has been seen as similar to pathological gambling. As with any addiction, the addict’s behaviour is conditioned for reward seeking activities, and the internet is full of these kinds of opportunities. Social media for example brings the promise of good and unexpected news constantly. I can certainly associate that emotional connection with the same excited anxiety that gambling brings. Internet forums and chat rooms are a great place for people to express themselves and their opinions in virtual communities and any and all hours of the day or night that, in the long run, can make real-life social interactions an expressly awkward affair.
What Causes an Internet Addiction?
Like addictions in general, addiction to the internet similarly comes with multiple contributing factors. Some evidence suggesting that the brain make-up of a person suffering with internet addiction is the same as that of those with a chemical dependency. The pleasurable internet trigger releases dopamine, the “feel good” chemical of the brain whenever it is triggered by the user’s internet usage, and over time this activity needs to be repeated more and more often to achieve the same “level of satisfaction”. Hence the addiction to the pleasure is created. This behaviour is further enhanced and reinforced by the multiple layers of pleasure that the internet can provide. From aiding a shopping addiction or an addiction to pornography, to simply creating a whole other reality for oneself online.
The internet has given us the perfect pleasure-pushing package right in the palm of our hands.
Aside from the obvious shopping and other access to material satisfaction, the internet has opened the door for us as a society, to close the door on real life and real people while allowing us to never be too far from anyone at the same time. This may sound great, it does however come with its own unique set of addiction-causing psychological complications.
Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Internet Addiction
Internet addiction carries mental, physical and emotional symptoms that have a correlation to substance dependant addicts. These include:
- Feelings guilt and loneliness
- No sense of time
- Mood swings
- Restlessness and agitation
- Boredom and procrastination
- Neck, back and dietary problems
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Insomnia and headaches
- Poor vison and eyes problems
With the current rate of internet addicts on the rise and the prevalence of the internet in our daily lives, it may be a little tough to see the addict for what they are, or even oneself for that matter. If a preoccupation with happenings on the net lead to lies, risking employment, mood swings and constant moodiness, or using the internet to escape when times get tough then perhaps it’s time to take a step back. At Twin River Rehab in Plettenberg Bay, we have the necessary experts and professionals to help treat all the behavioural, psychological and physical issues regarding addiction and a successful recovery. We are here to help. That’s what we do.