Internet Addiction Disorder: Signs & Symptoms

Over the past few years a somewhat new clinical illness has been on the rise known as Internet Addiction Disorder. As with other medical illnesses, Internet Addiction Disorder has particular signs and symptoms to aid in detection and diagnosing. Internet Addiction Disorder has been categorized as a “draining cognitive disruption to physical and mental functions” of the brain by several medical experts. As more studies and research are conducted, this disorder is becoming a more well-known disease and condition to the public.

One of the main differences from this addiction as opposed to others is that it does not involve the use of a physical, harmful or dangerous drug; however, a physical and mental reliance can still take place. Just as many common addictions,Internet Addiction Disorder has taken hold in some individual’s lives as a replacement for physical connection with other people. This article is not aimed to act as a manual to mitigateInternet Addiction Disorder, yet rather be seen as an informative read on the signs and symptoms of this clinical illness. Remember, if you feel you may suffer from this illness, the safest way to seek help is to get in contact with a medical professional.

How Does Internet Addiction Disorder Work?

So, how exactly does Internet Addiction Disorder work? If you’re not inhaling, snorting, or popping a drug, then how can the internet be an addiction? Just as any addiction, individual’s experiences can differ.Internet Addiction Disorder may simply be recognized as “problematic internet use,” or a compulsive usage of the internet to the point in which it intervenes with a person’s everyday life.

In 2011, The American Society of Addiction Medicine proclaimed an addiction “a chronic brain disorder while proposing for the first time that it is not limited to a substance use.” Although the internet is not a drug, it can still be addicting.Internet Addiction Disorder operates on a schedule of reinforcement.

The schedule of reinforcement has three common factors such as the following:

  • A high constant response level.
  • The outcomes are only a brief pause after reinforcement.
  • Rewards associated with usage are a result after an irregular number of reactions.

What the brain undergoes through while using internet applications is a variety of a reward structure. Activities, such as internet applications, support the reward structures. The brain’s reward system is increased when it goes through thought-provoking information.Internet Addiction Disorder is not to be confused with using internet applications from time to time. Internet Addiction Disorder can be present when the absence of its usage affects a person’s day to day life and they cannot function properly.

Precautionary Signs of Internet Addiction Disorder

Now that we have a better grip on what brain goes through while on the internet, let’s see some signs that come with Internet Addiction Disorder. With any addiction, a set of signs and symptoms are also associated. As stated in a previous article, signs and symptoms differ from addict to addict. These can be both physical and mental.

Some precautionary signs to look for include some of the following:

  • Decreased productivity in the work and professional environment.
  • Excessive time spent in online activities such as gaming, trading of stocks, gambling and even auctions often leads to overspending and problems at work.
  • Excessive use of social networking sites to create online relationships rather than real life relationships.
  • Disassociation from reality.
  • Losing close friends.
  • Disconnection from family.
  • Lying to others and oneself about the amount of time spent on the internet.

Psychological Symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder

Any kind of addiction can carry weight on an individual’s shoulders. Some psychological symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder include some of the following:

  • Constant guilt after spending a large amount of time online.
  • Difficultness avoiding the internet for entertainment for more than a few days.
  • Losing sense of time when online.
  • Feelings of frustration and anxiety when unable to go online.
  • Irrational explanations for unhealthy levels of use.
  • Avoiding the negative effects of excessive internet usage.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities.
  • A sense of serene and happiness only when online.
  • Feeling a negative attitude when not on the internet.

Physical Symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder

Even more than psychological symptoms, physical symptoms can appear and tire you out as well. Some physical symptoms of Internet Addiction Disorder include some of the following:

  • A constant backache.
  • Headaches.
  • Weight gain or loss.
  • Troubles sleeping.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Difficulty in vision. Blurred or strained vision.

What to Do About an Internet Addiction Disorder

Internet Addiction Disorder is here and can be severe. Life is not meant to be experienced through a screen. If there is any change in your behavior when not using the internet, take the change seriously. Internet Addiction Disorder can have a negative effect to your health, and if you believe you or someone you know may be on a path to addiction, professional treatment centers and medical professionals are essential to a road to recovery.

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