The internet has forever changed the way we live, learn and work. When a person is not able to find a balance between their time online and offline, it could mean problems for their mental health.
There is no single definition for internet addiction
. Generally, people who are addicted to the internet have trouble filling their personal and professional obligations. Their internet use causes strain on relationships with family and friends. When their internet access is restricted, they may experience negative emotions or withdrawal symptoms.
What Causes People to Become Addicted to the Internet?
The combination of accessibility, control and excitement can cause the addicted person want to continue going online.
- Accessibility: Most Americans can get online easily and almost immediately, at any time of the day or night.
- Control: People can go online when they want and without other people knowing. This can cause them to feel like they are in control.
- Excitement: Going online can give people a sort of “high.” The suspense of gambling, gaming or bidding in online auctions can give people a thrill.
People who are addicted to the internet often have other mental health issues. People who have anxiety
may turn to the internet to fill a void. The internet can be emotionally rewarding for them because it does not require interpersonal interaction. They may feel more at ease in an online environment than a physical one.
Treatment for internet addiction typically aims to create boundaries and balance around internet use, rather than entirely eliminating it. Treatment usually includes therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group therapy. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, talk with your health care provider or a mental health professional