Brought to you by Mines & Associates
July 2018

What is Internet Addiction?

Internet addiction is described as an impulse control disorder which does not involve use of an intoxicating drug and is very similar to pathological gambling.

Signs of Internet addiction include the following:

Problems caused by Internet Addiction

Internet addiction results in personal, family, academic, financial and occupational problems that are characteristic of other addictions.

Impairment of real life relationships are disrupted as a result of excessive use of the internet. Internet addicts spend more time in solitary seclusion and spend less time with real people in their lives. Arguments may result due to the volume of time spent on-line. Internet addicts may attempt to conceal the amount of time spent on-line, which results in distrust and the disturbance of quality in once stable relationships.

Financial problems may occur due to the significant amount of time spent on-line and the service provider charges. Common financial issues are large bills for use of some services, the telephone connection charges and telephone bills for calls made to friends in chat rooms. Other financial charges may include a connection with compulsive spending/shopping. Internet addicts may choose to shop on-line and credit card charges for purchases may become high. Also, a connection with gambling exists with the availability of on-line casinos.

What makes the Internet addictive?

Some internet users may develop an emotional attachment to on-line friends and activities they create on their computer screens. Internet users may enjoy aspects of the internet that allow them to meet, socialize and exchange ideas through the use of chat rooms or "virtual communities". These communities allow the person the means to escape from reality and seek out means to fulfill unmet emotional and psychological needs, which are more intimate and less threatening than real life relationships.

Some Internet addicts may also create on-line personas where they are able to alter their identities and pretend to be someone other than themselves.The highest risk for creation of a secret life are those who suffer from low self esteem, feelings of inadequacy, and fear of disapproval from others. Such negative self concepts lead to clinical problems of depression and anxiety.

There is help for Internet Addiction. The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Proctor Hospital provides assessment and treatment services for the Internet addict. Counselors trained in the identification and treatment of Internet addiction provide professional assessments to determine if addiction to the Internet exists and placement into a level of care for treatment.

A free, confidential assessment may be scheduled by calling the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Proctor Hospital at (309) 691-1055 or 800-522-3784.

American Psychological Association © 2018

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