Signs of Internet Addiction

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internet addiction

With smartphones becoming a near-staple in society – nearly 77 percent of Americans have one – it’s no surprise that more and more individuals are struggling with Internet addiction. Also called technology addiction, Internet use disorder (IUD) or Internet addiction disorder (IAD), this psychological disorder is often defined as a serious problem involving the inability to control use of various kinds of technology, in particular the Internet, smartphones, tablets and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Individuals with Internet addiction have been shown to have a higher risk of substance use disorders along with the following mental illnesses:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hostility
  • Psychosis
  • Social isolation
  • Impulse control problems

IAD, like other types of addiction, can range from moderate to severe and adversely impact a person’s mental and physical health, daily life, relationships and academic or job performance. According to researchers, the following five diagnostic criteria can be used to diagnosis a person with Internet addiction.

  • Preoccupied with the Internet (thinks about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)
  • Needs to use the Internet with increased amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction
  • Has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use
  • Is restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use
  • Has stayed online longer than originally intended
  • Has jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet
  • Has lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet
  • Uses the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)

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