Addiction to the web or Internet addiction
The Internet became the integral part of many peopleâ€™s lives. And all that thanks to accessibility and lots of advantages it provides, such as easy-to-get information of any kind, communication, shopping â€“ and all that â€“ without leaving your home. But there is another side of such conveniences and comprehensive facilities. The problem concerns Internet addiction, which is considered a psychical and behavioral disorder, hough it is not officially recognized as dependence yet.
Strictly speaking, Internet addiction â€“ is a compulsive craving to enter the web and the impossibility to leave it. By that the person doesnâ€™t pursue any special aim; he stays in the web space only because he likes being there, the web becomes for him the only source of bright emotions. The rest things in life, which are not connected with virtual reality (walks, communication with the family etc.), donâ€™t interest him anymore. Impossibility to enter the web makes an Internet addict suffer from nervousness, apathy and irritability â€“ withdrawal pains. This way the web addiction is characterized by the same traits, as other kinds of dependences.
Consequences and symptoms of Internet addiction
Internet addiction is not a harmless thing at all. Long and uncontrolled surfing the web space leads to psychical and physical problems with oneâ€™s health, loss of social skills. The thoughts about the Internet and everything connected with it haunt the person; the information, systematically chewed over, plays a negative role in human ability to learn and think, and it leads to negative changes in his brain functioning. Long sitting at the computer (or a mobile gadget) comes to disturbed circulation, muscle atrophy, sleeplessness, joint disease and so on. Real communication doesnâ€™t interest an addictive human anymore, as he prefers virtual reality, leading to offence and lack of understanding among relatives and close friends of the addict.
Often the man canâ€™t understand and realize his addiction to the web. At the same time his condition can be very well seen by people around him. The symptoms of Internet addiction include the following peculiarities of behavior:
- Great pleasure and burst of energy before each session;
- Displeasure, when somebody tries to divert the addictâ€™s attention away from his favorite pastime;
- Not eating at time of usual food intake or eating at the computer;
- Very often checking the mailbox, renewing the personal page in social networks etc.;
- Loss of control over the time;
- Forgetting during web-session about important duties, meetings, assignments;
- Discussing to everyone modern Internet technologies, even with the people, who have little to do with them;
- Great influence of information from the web on psychological condition of an addict;
- Seldom communication with people in reality, refusal to visit familiars and meet friends.
Forms of web addiction
Classification of Internet addiction is based on oneâ€™s preferences in the web, the processes he is obsessed with. However, several forms of web addiction can be combined with each other.
1. Obtrusive web-surfing â€“ is visiting various websites and going from one site to another just for nothing, without any particular goal. Sometimes it is classified as informational addiction;
2. Dependence from social networks are expressed in obtrusive need in virtual communication, worries because of â€śmarksâ€ť and â€ślikesâ€ť on personal page, fear to miss something new from friendsâ€™ lives in the social network. The man with such form of dependence checks the news in groups and friendsâ€™ pages hundred times a day;
3. Cybersexual dependence â€“ addiction to movies of the correspondent content in the web. Such people are often not interested in sexual relations in real life;
4. Movie addiction â€“ watching movies in the web all the time, regular search for new movies;
5. Game addiction â€“ dependence from online games. The person spends all free time by playing such games, gets nervous, when fails to keep up with his opponents and constantly spends money for virtual purchases to upgrade his personages;
6. Financial obtrusive addiction to buy goods in Internet shops and wasting money for gambling. This addiction is like shopaholism and ludomania in reality.
Diagnosis and treatment for Internet addiction
To make a diagnosis of Internet addiction is possible with the help of screening self-checklist, revealing the addiction as it is. The method was developed in the USA, but it hasnâ€™t gained widespread currency in Russia yet. The patient is offered to answer 11 questions using words â€śvery oftenâ€ť, â€śoftenâ€ť, â€śseldomâ€ť, â€śneverâ€ť. The results of this screening reveal Internet addiction and its degree. Psychotherapeutists register also changes in brain functions of web addicts and involuntary finger movements, imitating the process of typing.
Presently there is no special treatment for this dependence in Russia. But visiting the qualified specialist will be the first step on the way to deliver from Internet addiction. The treatment includes regular sessions of psychotherapy, reflexotherapy and pharmaceutical treatment (sedatives and antidepressants).
However the man can help and must help himself to a great extent. It is strongly recommended to restrict the time spent at the computer, for example with the help of a cell phone ringtone. You may decorate your monitor with bright stickers with sharp word inscriptions concerning the Internet â€“ important that they will burst upon the eye.
If the job is not connected with the web, youâ€™d better forget to pay for the Internet one day and amuse yourself with something else. Interesting and useful hobby, something like cookery, embroidery, reading fiction or non-fiction literature will be of much help here. As practice shows, many people managed to overcome their addiction to the web after taking a pet.
You can change your habits connected with communication gradually: meet friends not in the social networks, but in real life; donâ€™t write messages with greetings, but call for that and so on. First it will be difficult to change many things you used to and conform to another way of life, where the Internet is only a small part. But if your intentions are true and you have enough patience, you will surely win the fight with addiction to the web.