If your excessive computer use is interfering with your daily life, you might be addicted to technology.
IAD or Internet Addiction Disorder causes neurological complications, psychological disturbances, and social problems.
According to a study, internet addiction in American and European cultures affect up to 8.2% of the general population.
It is characterized by many hours spent in non-work technology-related computer/Internet/video game activities.
Some of the most commonly identified categories of Internet Addiction include gaming, social networking, email, blogging, online shopping, and inappropriate Internet pornography use.
How is internet addiction diagnosed?
Internet addiction is not yet considered as a full mental disorder. However, it has been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a disorder that needs more research.
But, there is one way to assess if someone is addicted to technology.
According to this study, there are five diagnostic criteria in the identification of Internet Addiction Disorder in the general population:
- The person constantly thinks about past use or future use of the internet
- The person needs to use the Internet with increased amounts of time to gain satisfaction
- The person has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop the use of the Internet
- The person is restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to control Internet use
- The person has stayed online longer than originally intended
Upon meeting the said criteria, the person must have done at least one of the following:
- The person has jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity because of the Internet
- The person has lied to his family members, therapists, or others to conceal their involvement with the Internet
- The person uses the Internet as a way of escaping from problems and bad moods.
- The most common assessment tools used to help make a diagnosis of Internet Addiction
What is the treatment for internet addiction?
Some professionals argue that people addicted to technology have underlying conditions.
So treating internet addiction can be achieved if the underlying condition is treated first.
According to this study, substance addiction and Internet addiction share the same neurobiological mechanism.
In this case, addictive behavior medications can help.
One way is cognitive-behavioral therapy.
CBT teaches patients to pay attention to the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
It urges the person addicted to technology to be ready to identify the “triggers” through their thoughts and feelings.
Another way to treat internet addiction is through group psychotherapy and hospitalization for detoxification.
It is the same with CBT but the patient’s family members are encouraged to participate. Group therapies could also be done with other addicts to encourage one another.
Because of the prevalence of internet addiction, de-addiction centers like reSTART residential treatment facility have been started to help internet addicts.
To delve deeper about being addicted to technology, here are 7 facts that will surprise you:
1. Nomophobia is real
Nomophobia is the fear of being without a smartphone.
According to this study, 58% of men and 48% of women suffer from the phobia.
The data gathered from the research show that nomophobia is an emerging problem of the modern era.
2. Most people can’t survive without a smartphone
According to the same study cited above, 58% of the respondents could not manage without a mobile phone even for a day.
9% of the respondents feel stressed when. they lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit or have no network coverage.
3. There’s a whole generation of people using the internet while on the loo
A study made by Sensis found that the most popular place to use the internet continues to be in the home.
It states that 8 out of 10 people (79%) use the internet for social media.
Additionally, social media usage while on the toilet is now normal for the 12 percent of the population
The study also showed that women use their smartphones more in the bathroom.
However, men were more attached to their phones as compared to women.
4. Most people are victims of classical conditioning through the internet
According to this article, classical conditioning and smartphones make a powerful combination.
The sounds of our smartphones elicit automatic and reflexive responses from us.
That is why people who are addicted to technology have the tendency to check their phones without any reason.
Because of this, they will keep turning the screen on out of boredom or habit.
5. They suffer from phantom vibrations
Phantom vibration is a phenomenon where phone users perceive their device to vibrate due to a call or text is incoming, when in fact the phone did not vibrate at all.
80% of the people have experienced false vibrations and around 30% have heard ringing that is purely non-existent.
However, this research shows that most users do not find phantom vibration hallucinations to be very bothersome,
The more an individual uses their phone, the more likely they are going to experience this phenomenon.
6. Their critical thinking skills decrease
According to a research study by Patricia Greenfield, UCLA distinguished professor of psychology, critical thinking skills and analysis declines with too much internet use.
In her study, the results show that wiring classrooms for Internet access does not enhance learning,
When students were tested after class lectures, those who did not have Internet access performed better compared to those who did.
7. Internet addiction disrupts child-parent relationship
According to this article, children behave worse when parents are distracted by smartphones.
The research by the University of Michigan and Illinois State University found children misbehave when their parents use smartphones while talking to their children.
Samples of interruption include checking phone messages during mealtime or playtime with the kids.
On the other hand, misbehaving could be in the form of oversensitivity, hot tempers, hyperactivity, and whining.
It is not surprising to know that internet addiction is increasing around the world.
Some countries even consider it as a public health condition.
Because it is still not included in the list of mental health conditions, preventive treatments should be proposed.
One way is to promote physical exercise and outdoor activities like travelling.
Needless to say, internet use should be conscious so as not to become abuse.