Internet addiction goes by many names, including compulsive internet use and problematic internet use. It is a very recently discovered addiction, relatively speaking, because the internet is a new global phenomenon. Despite the fact that it is a behavioral addiction, similar to gambling, instead of a chemical addiction, such as to drugs or alcohol, internet addiction can still be very severe and debilitating. Many people who have struggled to manage their internet addiction have found themselves with damaged relationships, credibility and personal health. In order to prevent these unwanted effects of internet addiction, seek addiction treatment if you or someone you are close to begins to demonstrate the following signs:
- Excessive time spent on the internet is the most obvious sign of a problem. When an individual starts foregoing time with their family and friends, neglecting responsibilities and being apathetic towards activities they used to enjoy in the name of having time on the internet, they are showing signs of an internet addiction.
- A person who is addicted to the internet will become irritable or emotional when forced to separate themselves from the internet. This could be a spouse demanding attention, a family wanting to have a meal together or a friend expressing irritation with the person’s internet habit. All addicts have negative emotional reactions when they are forced away from the object of their addiction.
- There can even be signs of physical deterioration caused by an internet addiction. If excessive time on the internet is the only thing that has changed in a person’s life and they are visibly losing muscle mass, experiencing weight fluctuation and their posture is growing worse, it is likely that their internet addiction is taking a physical toll on them.
Internet addiction does not put a person in immediate danger the way that a substance addiction does, but it does damage their mental and physical health more and more over time. If you or someone you are close to is showing signs of internet addiction, reach out to the services of an addiction specialist. They will take the matter seriously and see that you receive the help that is needed.