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What is an Internet Addiction?

By August 28, 2019 January 17th, 2020 No Comments
What is an Internet Addiction

It seems like many of us are addicted to our phones or computers. And in fact, nearly 10% of us may be clinically addicted to the internet.

A study from 2012 found that up to 8.2% of people were addicted to the internet. This study examined people’s tendency to use the internet for non-essential tasks, and the impact that usage had on their mental well-being. 

The tricky part of quantifying the prevalence of internet addiction is determining what an addiction looks like. Most people use the internet for non-essential tasks; we play games, find information, keep up with our friends and family. Participating in these activities does not define an addiction.

In fact, the same study that found “up to” 8.2% of people were addicted conceded that as few as 1.5% of people may be affected. Meanwhile, other studies suggest about a third of the population is addicted to the internet. 

There’s no single criteria that warrants a diagnosis, though many psychologists and doctors rely on a similar set of questions to determine whether someone is addicted. These questions relate to a person’s preoccupation with the internet, the time they spend using it, their ability to stop using it, their ability to disconnect from it when planned, and the impact usage has on their mood. 

Other judgments relate to the social effect internet usage has on an individual. The NCBI article cited above, for example, indicates addicts continue to heavily use the internet “despite family conflict, a diminishing social life and adverse work or academic consequences.” 

What does an internet addiction look like?

Internet addiction can take many forms. In some cases, a person may be addicted to the internet in general, and simply have difficulty disconnecting. In other cases, they may be addicted to a distinct service or feature provided by the internet.

Addiction to social media is common. Addiction to games, especially multiplayer games, is too. 

Often, an internet addiction is paired with another type of addiction, which is enabled by the access the internet provides. For an example, online gambling, videogames and pornography are all addictive things someone might access online. 

How to treat an internet addiction

An internet addiction may seem worlds away from something like an alcohol or cocaine addiction, but fundamentally, the issue is the same. When a person cannot stop themselves from doing something that’s harmful to their body, mind or relationships, the internet addiction treatment needs to focus on helping them overcome their issues, and stop them from reengaging in the future.

To this end, it’s important to identify the underlying cause of the addiction. What is it about the internet that’s keeping a person so attached? Why does the person find this component of being online so appealing. How can they stop themselves while still making use of the internet for essential or casual use?

To answer these questions a comprehensive approach to treatment is advised. This includes an on-site stay at an addiction rehab centre, where the client receives counselling and therapy to help them deal with their problem. 

As with alcohol addiction in Toronto and drug addiction in Toronto, having these resources makes the task of kicking the addiction much more achievable.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.