What Is Internet Addiction Disorder?
From education to entertainment, there is certainly no life area that has not been changed by the advent of the internet. It has not only made life simpler but also very fast-paced and instant. The internet has given us growth in all aspects.
At the same time, the worrying trend is how dependent it has made us for everyday things. It has consequently given rise to a new set of mental health disorders, including, but not limited to, internet addiction disorder, online gaming addiction, online shopping addiction, and online gambling addiction.
Gone are the days when the medical community would classify addiction based on an individual's dependence on a substance of abuse. Even the urge to stay online at all times is now considered an addiction. Internet addiction may involve pointless surfing of the internet, social networking, and pornography.
How Do We Get Handcuffed to the Internet and Gaming?
A person gets addicted to something if that activity is delightful to them. When an individual tries to escape reality, he gets dependent on other things. Repetitive use of the internet, social media, and games can cause psychological dependence. Continuous use of social media, pornography, and games can cause excessive secretion of dopamine. This abundant flow of dopamine in the brain is the reason for the development of dependence.
What Is the Risk?
It can affect the day-to-day life and thought process of the person.
It can lead to mood swings and mood instabilities.
It hampers creativity and imagination.
It can lead to social isolation and withdrawal.
Put the person's relationship with their partner, family, and friends at risk.
The person can start living a fake life.
It can lead to reckless behavior and spending a lot more money than you rightfully should be.
What Is an Internet Gaming Disorder?
The increasing prevalence of digital access has caused another concern, especially among children and adolescents known as internet gaming disorder.
The condition is still under research, and its real impact is yet being studied. But, some things are certain. Addiction to online games (the primary threat being multiplayer role-play games), does cause developmental problems and affects children's development of social skills.
There have been instances of severe impairment, lack of cognitive functions, and mental distress. Despite the name being internet gaming disorder, both online and offline gaming of high frequency are equally capable of making your child a victim of this disorder. Earlier, only children were addicted to games. But now, all the age groups are known to be equally addicted to the web. Men are known to be addicted to games more than women.
What Is the Risk Involved?
Poor performance in academics.
Worsening of relationships with parents and peers.
Aggressive behavior and violent streaks.
Living in a fantasy world imagining themselves to be the online avatar they wish to portray themselves.
The normal routine might get disturbed.
Procrastination of important things.
While the disorder itself is in the research stage, treatment options and success rates are still unclear. Researchers are also trying to ascertain who is most at risk and what are the types of games that are associated with maximum risk.
What Are the Diagnostic Criteria?
The criteria for both internet addiction disorder and gaming disorder are quite similar and hence have been listed together. Meeting any five of these is understood to be the criteria for diagnosis.
Preoccupation with the internet or gaming, planning for the next possible opportunity to go online or play.
Building tolerance, that is, a need to spend more amount of time to achieve the same level of satisfaction.
Attempts at trying to curtail internet usage or stop playing online games have repeatedly failed.
Withdrawal symptoms of irritability and depression when they are unable to access the internet or play the next level.
Staying online at all times or playing during all free hours, giving up all other activities.
Putting a job or relationship at risk due to usage of the internet or playing.
Deceiving family about the actual number of hours spent online or gaming.
Using the internet or gaming as a means to escape reality and elevate mood.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Kids?
As a parent, you first need to understand and realize the level of impact this has on your child and his or her future. Here are some things you can do to ensure your child or family members do not fall for this trap.
If you even have the slightest doubt that your child needs help, it is worth paying attention to your instincts and taking the next step by consulting a mental health professional at the earliest because the sooner you act, the better the outcome.
Are You an Adult Facing Internet Addiction?
As an adult, you might find it easier to take more control over your life. Here are a few ways to overcome internet addiction.
Analyze yourselves and find out how much time you spend on the net. You might take help from a few mobile apps that help you note the time spent on the internet. If you invest time on unproductive things, you might make efforts to correct yourselves.
Try quitting social media for a while. You might uninstall all the apps and delete accounts. Stop receiving notifications all the time. This might distract you from useful work.
Exercise might help you feel energetic and keep you away from negative thoughts.
If you experience severe addiction that your day does not move without the internet, you should seek help from a psychologist.
Are you facing any of these symptoms? Call a doctor online.
Frequently Asked Questions