Internet Addiction – A Growing Epidemic or a Slacker’s Excuse?

Internet addiction disorder, also known as problematic Internet use (PIU) and compulsive Internet use (CIU), is becoming an increasingly significant problem throughout the United States. Many individuals have a difficult time drawing clear parallels between compulsive behavior and addiction, seeing as addiction has so long referred to substance dependency – the act of introducing something new to your bloodstream repeatedly, resulting in eventual physical deterioration. Both substance abuse and behavioral addictions, however, are categorized by an inability to control how frequently or to what degree a specific action is engaged in – regardless of steadily accumulating negative consequences. Both behavioral and substance addictions are coupled with intense cravings and urges, and an overwhelming lack of ability to cease engaging in behavior or to successfully ward off such cravings and urges.

Is Compulsive Internet Use a Behavioral Addiction?

Many psychologists and addiction specialists currently agree that compulsive Internet use absolutely qualifies as a serious and potentially extremely troublesome addiction. Those who suffer from problematic internet use lack motivation to engage in important and previously enjoyed elements of everyday life, opting instead to spend ample time in front of the computer or glued to a smart phone, neglecting socialization and previous obligation. However, there is something slightly more complicated about diagnosing Internet addiction – it is sometimes difficult to pin down one particular negative effect, something quantifiable and blatant. Those suffering from gambling addiction continue to gamble regardless of debt accrued, those addicted to shopping spend and spend frivolously, and such an addiction may be apparent based on credit card expenditure and a trip to one’s personal closet. However, Internet addiction does frequently result in the following symptoms to some degree:

  • Social isolation
  • Trouble at work or school
  • Inability to stop use or cut back

Is There Treatment For Internet Addiction?

When diagnosing one with a compulsive behavioral disorder, especially in regards to the Internet, it is important to differentiate symptoms so as to properly identify and treat. If one spends all of his or her time gambling online, he or she may instead be afflicted with a gambling addiction. The same goes for shopping, or using the Internet as a method to meet strangers with whom risqué sexual activity will be later conducted. Treatment for Internet addiction is difficult, because the World Wide Web is almost impossible to avoid altogether. If you or someone you love is suffering from Internet addiction, there is help available. Many addiction treatment centers across the nation deal with behavioral disorders in conjunction with substance abuse. Contact one of our trained representatives today for a comprehensive list of potential treatment options.

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