Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), a psycho-physiological disorder involving tolerance; withdrawal symptoms; affective disturbances; and interruption of social relationships, is beginning to become a problem in today’s society. The internet is becoming less fun and more harmful.
Internet Addiction Disorder was proposed as a disorder in a satirical hoax by Ivan Goldberg, M.D., in 1995. He took compulsive gambling as diagnosed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as his example for the description of IAD. It is not included in the current DSM of 2009. IAD is still being discussed and examined on whether it classifies under as a psychological disorder.
Symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder
Symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder Include:
Distraction: A compulsion to make one feel better by browsing the web.
Obsession: Constantly thinking about the internet whether online or offline.
Relationships with Internet Users: Relationship strictly based upon spending time talking to one another over the internet.
Loss of Relationships: The internet becomes more important than personal relationships. Eventually, these relationships come to an end due to the fact that the addict only cares about the internet.
Dishonest Internet Use: Lying about the time spent online to family, friends and employers.
Unhealthy Boundaries: Sharing information over the internet to other internet users that are inappropriate.
Material Distortion: Playing online gambling games which can make the addict think that money has no essential value.
Loss of Control: Inability to just quickly check and email or surf the web for a few moments. Addicts will just sit behind the computer with no real objective which leads to countless hours of using the internet.
Treating Internet Addiction Disorder
The most effective way to overcome internet addiction or video game addiction is the admitting there is a problem. The addict must be motivated to overcome the addiction and be open minded. In treating this addiction the focus is similar to alcohol or drug addiction by narrowing down the behavior patterns.
Effective Treatment Techniques Include:
Establishing New Routines: Starting new daily patterns that will overrun time zones of normal internet usage.
Goal Setting: Setting goals where the addict cuts down internet use time. For example, the addict may use the computer for 60 hours a week. Starting out on a goal of using the internet 25 hours a week.
Personal Inventory: Writing down activities the addict enjoys or has not been able to attend to due to the internet addiction. This will provide the addict strong information of what they are missing out on due to obsessive internet use.
Support Groups: Having support from other addicts is a very effective way to make new friends rather than the ones over the internet. This will help build self-esteem and new relationships.
Family Therapy: Family therapy may be helpful to the addict if their family or loved one is interrupted by the internet addiction.