5 Types of Internet Addiction
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Researchers have identified 5 types of internet addiction. Before we jump into the subcategories, let’s define internet addiction as a whole.
- Internet Addiction: Internet addiction is characterized by excessive or poorly controlled preoccupations, urges or behaviors regarding computer use and internet access that lead to impairment or distress.
The 5 Types
Net compulsions encompass a variety of activities. Behaviors such as online shopping, gambling at online casinos, incessantly refreshing and checking social media, and many more, can all fall under the scope of net compulsions. These addictions consume excessive amounts of one’s time and money, ultimately damaging both the social and financial aspects of life.
The internet is an endless source of information. Looking up information can become an uncontrollable compulsion for some, to the point of decreased productivity and increased anxiety. Information seeking addictions tend to push important priorities to the side, while seekers obsess over finding new information.
Online gaming has become increasingly popular. Unfortunately, it has become difficult for some gamers to know when to stop. These games range in complexity, from Solitaire to Fortnite. Obsessive computer gaming causes players to neglect other responsibilities such as jobs and school. It can also negatively impact social relationships. This has become such an issue, especially for young males, that specialized clinics have open specifically for “gaming disorder”.
Internet porn isn’t a common topic of conversation and what you do in the privacy of your own home is completely up to you. However, people can easily develop an addiction to the vast amount of online porn that is free and readily available. This includes images and videos found on adult websites, sexual chat rooms, web-cam services, etc. Research shows this type of addiction can have similar effects on the brain as addictive drugs. Additionally, it can severely detriment one’s ability to form intimate real-world relationships.
Cyber relationship addicts are obsessed with making connections online. Social media, chat rooms, and other forms of online interaction become the entirely of the user’s social life. Similar to cybersex addictions, these online friendships and romantic relationships often come at the expense of real-world connections. It can also increase feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation when the addict is offline.
Internet Addiction Treatment
There is still much to be learned about internet addictions. Because it is not yet recognized as part of the DSM-5 – the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals – there is no standard criteria for treatment. However, if you think you or someone you know is addicted, researchers and psychologists argue it should be treated like any other form of addiction. Individual therapy, group therapy, and anonymous support groups are all valid treatment options. These and other alternatives can help addicts determine the root causes of their addiction and teach them how to implement healthy coping mechanisms.
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