Internet Addiction

Man with internet addiction disorder surfing the web on MacBook Pro


Internet addiction disorder is not an official mental health diagnosis recognized by the DSM-V, but one that is gaining more attention with each passing year. As with any addiction, excessive time is spent performing the activity, to the point of interfering with normal life functions. This can involve watching pornography, social media, gaming, YouTube, blogging, emailing, chatting, etc.

It’s not clear what causes internet addiction in the first place. People who are loaners may have a greater tendency to develop the disorder, because they may naturally gravitate towards the internet due to the lack of socialization in their lives. But the internet is not a replacement for socializing; it can actually lead to isolation and even depression.

Perhaps people with anxiety or depression also have a higher tendency to gravitate towards the internet. The internet becomes a safe haven where they can easily escape their negative emotions, turning what should be innocent internet viewing into a viscous internet browsing cyclone.

As with any addiction, those who are addicted to the internet spend so much time on it, that it starts to impact their lives adversely. Their relationships may fumble, their job performance plummet and their mental heath may hit rock-bottom. And anyone who attempts to help them is seen as the enemy: a classical addiction problem experienced by many families and friends of addicts.

The first step in treatment is for the addict to recognize that he or she has a problem; this applies to any addiction. If the person refuses to accept the fact that they are addicted to the internet, the symptoms will continue indefinitely. A form of psychotherapy known as CBT can also be helpful: changing one’s cognition in order to influence their behavior. But again, the addict must be willing to engage in therapy.

Call it internet addiction disorder, compulsive internet use, problematic internet use or iDisorder, it doesn’t matter. The person must be willing to recognize that they have a problem and must be willing to cut back down on their usage. Most addicts recognize that they have a problem, but the classic immature defense mechanism is applied almost all the time: denial.

When an addict is in denial, they refuse to accept that they have an addiction. Deep inside, they probably know at some level that their behavior is inappropriate, but they will never admit it to themselves or to others. Many people still believe that addiction is just a “personalty thing” that one can get rid of if they just “stop.”

It doesn’t work that easily. Addiction is a mental disorder. Once the mind has been hijacked, it becomes a challenge to salvage it. But it can be done with support and great effort. That is why we need to come together and support all the addicts of this world, regardless of nation, skin color or religious background. This is DSM!

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Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Daily Dose Of Internet

Addicted young boy surfing the web on his laptop

Strung Out On The Web

AM. PM. Lunchtime or dinner. The laptop flips open. The cellphone shines on. The useless iPad makes a use for itself. It’s back. It never went away; probably never will. You depend on it too much. It has become a part of your identity that you often wish to disconnect from. The internet.

The internet has revolutionized how we search for information; we might as well add libraries into living museums. From morning to night, we are glued to the internet in some way or form. Unless stuck on a deserted island, we cannot go a day without accessing the internet.

We use the internet more than we eat, drink and socialize. It’s our number one addiction without even realizing it. The addiction is so strong that it swiftly passes unregistered through our conscious mind straight into the vault of our unconscious mind; think of an illegal border crossing with no apprehension.

Are there withdrawal symptoms from not using the internet? Who would know, since we never stop using it in the first place! Whether for work or pleasure, we are truly tangled in a sticky web of information; some of it polluted, some of it mind-blowing. We attempt to disentangle, only to find ourselves in a stickier situation when new webpages sprinkle us with new bits of information.

Some people fall down the rabbit hole beyond the rabbit hole: porn addiction, online gambling, the dark web, hacking and crime. Do they ever resurface and see reality again? Without professional help, their judgment is too impaired. Their addiction has hijacked their reward center and capacity for logical reasoning.

Is there a solution or do we continue our daily dose of the internet as caged animals in a zoo? Can the zoo be freed and its members allowed back into the wild to experience freedom as was intended from day one of creation? The answer is certainly yes!

Curbing the internet involves willpower and a desire to make a change in your life! Discipline is your friend; without it, your fingers will remain attached to the keyboard. Diversify your life in a way that involves relying on the internet less and less: start reading books, exercising and playing sports, going out in nature, meditating and spending time with others!

Your receptors have become desensitized to the internet; you are feeding a loop that will never stop on its own. Break away and be free again.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Locked In By Compulsions

A pyromaniac setting a fire in the middle of the night

What is Pyromania?

Pyromaniacs are individuals who enjoy setting fires and derive pleasure from it. The disorder begins in childhood; these children may display truancy, running away from home and delinquency. They may enjoy watching fires in their neighborhoods, setting off false alarms and collecting firefighting paraphernalia. They obtain gratification or a release during the act of fire setting and they show no remorse for life or property damage; the destruction actually satisfies them! These individuals may be drunk, experiencing sexual dysfunctions, have below-average IQs, suffer from personal frustration and may be bitter toward authority figures; some of them even become sexually aroused by setting fires!

What is Kleptomania?

Kleptomaniacs are individuals who have a recurrent impulse to steal objects that are not needed for personal use or monetary value; they often steal from retail stores or from family members. It’s a chronic illness beginning in adolescence and continuing into adulthood. The stealing is not due to anger or revenge and is not associated with delusions or hallucinations. They may also suffer from mood disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders. Oftentimes, they either return the objects or give them away.

What is Internet Compulsion?

Also known as internet addiction, these individuals spend most of their day on a computer surfing the web. They have repetitive and constant strong urges to spend time on the internet shopping, watching porn or playing games; they are unable to resist their urges.

What is Trichotillomania?

This is a chronic disorder that occurs more commonly in women, characterized by a repetitive compulsion of pulling hair out; it may even involve the eyebrows! Sometimes they chew or swallow their hair, resulting in a potential complication known as a trichobezoar – a hairball that becomes stuck in the intestines.

What is Mobile Phone Compulsion?

These individuals have a repetitive compulsion to use their cell phones to call friends, acquaintances or family members. They usually come up with reasons to justify calling others, but it is believed that these individuals suffer from a fear of being alone, are dependent on others or are undoing a hostile wish toward a loved one, “I just wanted to make sure that everything is okay with you today.”

As you can see, many people suffer from compulsions that manifest into a mental illness. That is why we need to come together and help each other understand our stories, so we can more effectively help one another deal with the emotions and pain that result in our suffering; this is one of the goals of The DSM Ready Movement.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)