Twenty-three years ago, Dr. Ivan Goldberg wrote an article about Internet Addiction Disorder. The article was meant to be a parody of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” not a real description of a disorder. But even then, in 1995, his parody elicited a strong response. Several of his fellow psychiatrists believed they were internet addicts, so, while he did not agree, he set up a support group and hundreds of people joined…in 1995! Since then several researchers have made discoveries in support of the theory that internet addiction is real and functions like other types of addiction. Regardless of the technical terminology, excessive, compulsive use of the internet is obviously a bad thing, and if you or someone you know is missing out on life because of — whatever you want to call an unhealthy “relationship” with the internet — Seasons Bali can help. Let’s take a look at the answers to a few questions we hear frequently: Can you get addicted to the internet? How can I tell if am addicted to the internet? Is internet addiction a recognized disorder?
Is Internet Addiction A Recognized Disorder?
Various countries have manuals for psychiatrists that represent a consensus on how to describe forms of mental illness. While Australian and US authorities have all considered including addiction in their guidelines, so far they are all still at the “further study is warranted” phase. These organizations tend to move slowly and cautiously. Just because addiction is not currently recognized as a disorder doesn’t mean a person can’t lose control of their compulsion and suffer.
Indeed, in the UK, the NHS, acting on World Health Organization’s move this June to classify internet gaming addiction as a mental disorder under the classification of “Gaming Disorder”, has opened the first government-funded clinic to treat this particular form of internet addiction.
And in China, where internet gaming has been very popular for quite some time, the government recognized internet addiction in 2008. The government estimated that 10% of internet users under 18 years old are addicted. Symptoms include over six hours a day of recreational internet use, neglecting responsibilities and getting angry when denied internet access.
Can You Get Addicted To The Internet?
For practical purposes, regardless of what governments are saying, it’s your life. If you decide your use of the internet is taking something away from your life, you have a problem. If you can’t easily solve it by just deciding to use the internet less and easily turning away, you might as well be honest and call that problem an addiction. As far as we are concerned, yes, you can get addicted to the internet. And you can also learn to understand that addiction and recover.
If you only use the internet for gambling, it may be more accurate to say you are a gambling addict. If you only use it for social media, you could say narrow down your description and say you are a social media addict. If you only use it for pornography, you could say you are an online pornography addict. However you are trading your precious life for some activity on the internet, if you a reading this, it is probably time to realize you are not really making choices. It’s time to choose. Choose recovery.
How Can I Tell If I Am Addicted To The Internet?
You have to ask yourself: what really matters to me? If your internet use is coming between you and the people you care about and the goals that are important to you, perhaps you are addicted to the internet or some particular online activity.
Quiz Yourself And Find Out If You An Internet Addict
Ask yourself, when I get online, can I commit in advance to limit myself to a half hour? Or do I sometimes find I can’t tear myself away? Do I get anxious or irritable when I can’t get online? When I am with friends or family or working am I distracted, wanting to look at a device that’s connected? Am I spending so much time online that it gets in the way of other things that are important to me? Do I lose my sense of time? Do I feel a rush of euphoria? Do I feel guilty about my internet use? Do I lie about my internet use? Do I experience any physical symptoms from using the internet too much, such as headaches, backaches, irregular sleep, strained vision or carpal tunnel syndrome?
For most people today, the answer to one or more of these questions is probably yes. If the internet is creating some problems, it is time to cut back and get your life back on track. This can be scary because you might find out it is very hard to follow through on that choice. If you can honestly answer the question “Is too much internet use causing me problems?” that is a great first step. If you can decide to limit your internet use and follow through on your own, congratulations. If you realize you can’t, we will also congratulate you: now you know you have a habit that is a problem that you can’t solve on your own. Now you know you are an internet addict.
Internet Cross Addiction, Dry Drunks, and Emotional Sobriety
Addiction can take many forms. Sometimes, addicts kick one bad habit to the curb only to pick up another on the sidewalk and then it’s back to the metaphorical gutter of self-harm. Recovering alcoholics talk about the phenomenon of being a “dry drunk.” Sometimes a person can kick the physical habit of alcohol without leaving the emotional habits of alcoholism behind. Addiction takes a heavy complex toll. To really get clean, regardless of your type of addiction, you will need to learn some better techniques to engage with and process emotions.
Addicts who are able to get away from their addiction must also get to the safety of emotional sobriety. Otherwise, a recovering alcoholic or recovering pain-medication addict is at high risk for simply falling into cross-addiction. And the internet is out there, ubiquitous, blinking away promising quick, undependable micro-rewards that trigger a familiar response in the minds of addicts.
Learn More About Our Internet Addiction Recovery Program
Seasons Bali offers support for people struggling with all types of internet addiction. You are here reading this, so it is probably time for you or someone you care about to take the first step towards a much better life. It takes work but you can leave the unfulfilling cycle behind.
If someone you care about has a problem with internet addiction talk to someone who understands. We are here to help. Call one of our experts today at (toll-free Australia) 1800 288 348 +61 398045757 or email us at [email protected] and we will call you.