People call it the “Information Age” and the “World Wide Web”. Internet addiction affects an increasing number of people today. Many of us see our world and lives becoming more hurried by feeling overloaded with stress and anxiety. Addictive behavior becomes a problem with self-regulation and self-deception. Using the Internet as a tool has proven to be helpful when exchanging information for the sake of convenience, timeliness and enjoyment. Notably these inventions have been used for good but unfortunately have contributed sometimes to obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior that requires help in order to escape the web of emotional entanglement.
The amount of time and energy put into “surfing the net” may also contribute to some of the consequences that are similar to other addictions that include the use of alcohol, other drugs, pornography, work or gambling. This growing concern deserves attention. Personal awareness and education are a proven means for preventing what may start out as innocent fun but inadvertently turns into a more serious problem. The process of addiction often happens without noticing the warning signs. The signs and symptoms of internet addiction, like any addiction takes control over our lives. The age of information is a revolution that can affect society like a whirlwind without limits.
Internet addiction is by definition like many other addictions. People can experience a built up tolerance as well as show withdrawal symptoms that can lead to problems interfering with daily life just like with chemical dependency. Internet addiction is like having a personal relationship with a machine that promotes an emotional connection that is difficult to let go of.
The similarities with Internet addiction and chemical dependency are striking. They are using the Internet more than intended, to relieve tension, to control feelings of anxiety, depression or boredom together with the feelings of guilt and shame possibly. Other warning signs include reducing important social, occupational or recreational activities with a preference towards being “on-line.” Another concern some have is asking how much time their spouse is spending on the Internet compared to neglecting things at work or in the relationship. Are your child’s grades suffering because of the amount of time spent playing video games? Others are exposed because of their “using” that jeopardizes the quality of relationships or even worse with further loss that results in separation or possibly divorce. Yet the list goes on with what people can experience is the behavior is unattended with occupational and financial loss or problems with emotional, spiritual or physical health.
Depending on individual’s susceptibility, problems with overusing the Internet can be assessed in order to find out whether there is in fact a problem. The outcome from the choices we make on a daily basis is important, whether positive or negative. If you would like to find out more about Internet addiction, please feel free to log on @ www.netaddiction.com/resources/internet_addiction_test.htm
Dr. Robin A. Williams, Ph.D. is an Addiction Expert, Life Coach and Speaker with nearly 30 years of professional experience in treating people with mental health problems and problems associated with addictive behaviors. Visit Dr. Williams’ websites, www.rwacounseling.com or www.christiancounselingandaddictivehelp.com to learn more about his outpatient practice.