Internet Addiction Disorder, commonly referred to as PIU (problematic internet use) or CIU (compulsive internet use), is widely disputed – though it has recently been seriously considered for incorporation into the next issue of the DSM based on the prevalence with which cases are uncovered. Internet addiction is a subset of a larger classification – technology addiction, and is subdivided itself into several differing categories.
Internet Addiction Poses A Very Real Threat
- Cybersexual addiction – The user compulsively uses adult websites for access to pornography, inappropriate adult chatrooms, or cybersex.
- Cyber-relationship addiction – The user is involved in online relationships to a problematic degree, possibly engaging in several relationships simultaneously or pretending to be someone he or she is not despite potential consequences.
- Net compulsions – The user engages in online shopping, day trading, or gambling obsessively, unable to control his or her spending.
- Information overload – The user searches the web compulsively, acquiring new information with complete lack of control.
- Computer addiction – The user plays online games compulsively and cannot stop despite repercussions on his or her personal life.
In many cases, Internet addiction will cause serious strains in the personal life of the afflicted individual. The majority of the individual’s time will be spent online, either engaging in explicit sexual activity, gambling, shopping, chatting, or surfing the web. If the addict engages in online gambling or shopping, the financial consequences may be significant and devastating. A model, known as the ACE Model, was implemented to help others better understand the disorder.
- Accessibility. Because the Internet is essentially accessible to every American citizen regardless of financial situation, the issue has become more prevalent in recent years. In most cases, an individual can access the Internet from the comfort of his or her own home, never needing to deal with the outside world.
- Control. Users are totally in control of when and where they engage; however, they may not have control of for how long or how often. Because control tends to be a major issue in most addictions (often proving to be an underlying cause of addiction as well), it makes sense that control plays a large part in Internet addiction.
- Excitement. Especially when gambling online or engaging in adult chatrooms or cybersex, the user will experience a rush of excitement. This slight emotional high can be addicting in itself.
If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from an Internet addiction, there is help available. In many cases, intensive therapy and regular attendance at a 12-step meeting is sufficient. However, inpatient treatment is sometimes required. If you would like more information regarding the implications of internet addiction, please contact one of our trained representatives who will gladly provide you with all the information you are looking for.