When the Internet becomes a problem

When the Internet becomes a problem

The use of technology represents a great potential for communication today. It is a creative and educational tool; however, its excessive use may entail risks and consequences .

The behaviors that are generated in people with addiction to the Internet can interfere with the physical and mental well-being of the affected and their environment, family, friends and colleagues.

Internet Addiction Disorder

The so-called Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is characterized by the prolonged time of use in mostly playful and high frequency internet activities in children and adolescents . Those affected spend hours in front of the computer surfing the Internet, neglecting other aspects of life to the point of generating an addiction.

On the other hand, an addiction appears when it is not possible to control the behavior towards something, and it presents itself in a chronic way and creating dependency, and there is a pathological search for the specific reward that produces dependency . Some of the most frequent are: addiction to alcohol, tobacco, drugs, pornography and gambling.

In the case of Internet Addiction Disorder, people spend most of their day using social networks, instant messaging, or in the most frequent cases, online games and video games. In more severe cases , they can lose track of time and reality , and even become immersed in a character’s identity.

In addition, these Internet users are constantly concerned about being online and lie about how long they stay online by surfing the Internet or engaging in any other online activity. This leads to social isolation, physical problems such as back pain, headaches, and weight gain due to extreme sedentariness.

TAI may be associated with other addictions such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or sex. Also has been found to be related to other disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders and attention deficit . Other physical problems are visual problems, headache, back pain, etc.

General symptoms

In Internet addiction the difficulty of impulse control predominates , and the following is evaluated:

1. Overuse

It is associated with the loss of time or neglect of the most fundamental needs.

2. Abstinence

It includes feelings of anger, tension and depression when the computer or connection is inaccessible .

3. Tolerance

It includes the need for better equipment, i.e. more memory for the computer, more hours of use, equipment upgrade, etc.

4. Negative impact

It includes behaviors such as lying, seeking social isolation, etc.

Specific symptoms of online gaming addiction

Internet Gaming Disorder raises criteria specifically related to Internet gaming addiction. They present the following clinical criteria for their evaluation and diagnosis :

  • Online games become the most important activity for the person.
  • Tolerance is generated, just as with all addictions; it takes more and more time to be satiated.
  • Even if you try, you can’t stop using the Internet to play; there is a lack of control.
  • Lies about the time spent playing online, especially to family members and health professionals involved.
  • You lose interest in other hobbies that involve stopping playing and adopting a less sedentary lifestyle.
  • A state of irritability and anger arises when you haven’t played for a while.
  • Significant social relationships tend to be lost, as well as opportunities to have a job or start projects.

Treatment

In most cases, people with addiction do not follow any treatment. However, those who manage to ask for help improve their quality of life significantly . Addictions are dealt with in a multidisciplinary manner, and psychological therapy is an essential factor in the intervention. Each person requires an individualized help plan for their case.

The aim is to restore and improve each of the important areas of life , physical and mental health, family relationships, social contexts, work and all environments deteriorated by addiction.

In this way, we seek to achieve an increase in impulse control, improve self-esteem, greater recognition and regulation of emotions , and obtain coping strategies and tools to prevent relapses.

On the other hand, it is very important to supervise the use of the Internet by minors , as well as to be interested in knowing what the children do at school, with which people they relate, what activities they do outside and inside, etc.

It is appropriate to be concerned about the sites they visit on the Internet, the people with whom they communicate on the net and the degree of knowledge in technological aspects that they possess. As with television, children are likely to become hooked on and abuse technologies if they are not helped to manage their time.

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