Internet Addiction and its Impact on Mental Health

Internet addiction creates psychological, social, affective disorders, problems in social relations, and school and/or work difficulties in a person’s life.

Internet addiction refers to excessive or poorly controlled urge or behavior to access the internet. Internet addiction is when a person has a compulsive need to spend a great deal of time on the internet, to the point where other areas of life (such as relationships, work or health) are allowed to suffer.

Internet addiction is a growing epidemic.

Symptoms of Internet Addiction

According to a study, you may be experiencing an internet addiction if you spend long stretches of time (defined) as “many hours ‘’online for non-work-related activities, such as browsing the web or playing video games, and notice any of the below symptoms:-

  • Sudden changes in mood.
  • Intensive worry about what’s happening online when you’re not there.
  • Not being able to control how much time you’re spending online.
  • Increasing your time online to achieve a certain feeling or mood.
  • Withdrawal symptoms (irritability, physical aches, depression) when not reaching the desired amount of time online.
  • Continued online behavior and consumption despite conflict with loved ones, or consequences at work or school.

Physical side effects

Being addicted to the internet can also cause physical discomfort or medical problems such as:

  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome
  • Dry eyes and other vision problems
  • Backaches
  • Severe headaches
  • Eating irregularities(such as skipping meals)
  • Failure to attend to personal hygiene.
  • Sleep disturbance(Insomnia)
  • Neck pain
  • Weight gain or loss

Impact of Internet Addiction on mental health

Internet addiction is a problem of modern societies and many studies have considered this issue. Along with all the benefits internet brings, problems of excessive internet use are becoming apparent.

Excessive Internet use may create a heightened level of psychological arousal, resulting in little sleep, failure to eat for long periods, and limited physical activity, possibly leading to the user experiencing physical and mental health problems such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, low family relationships and anxiety.

With the covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, children and adolescents have increased exposure time on the internet to study, play online games, and use social media and to watch movies. This has led to increased internet addiction among children and adolescents. Internet use, especially social media has dramatically changed the way adolescents communicate, socialize, make and maintain friendship. Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is generally defined as an uncontrollable desire to use the internet, leading to acute nervousness and aggression in the deprivation and progressive deterioration of social life.

Excessive internet use has not been recognized as a disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Diagnostic and statistical manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), However the related diagnosis of gaming disorder has been included in the International classification of Diseases (ICD-11).

IAD and mental health in adolescent IAD is becoming a common mental health problem in adolescent .Worldwide, the prevalence of IAD in adolescents may vary from 1.98% to 35.8%.Internet addiction disorder (IAD) have negative outcomes in social, physical and psychological levels, including academic/work failure, physical problems, psychological problems, delinquency/crimes etc.

Methods to prevent Internet Addiction

  • Limit internet usage
  • Internet use should focus on the need to use the internet for school assignments and research.
  • Keep internet usage restricted to specific areas of the home.
  • Limit internet gaming
  • Talk about anxiety, depression, school, and other potential triggers that may be causing additional internet use.
  • Sport or physical exercise

It allows adolescents to interact more with friends and to overcome the internet addiction disorder.

  • Spending time with family and friends.

Treatment of Internet Addiction

  • Individual, group, or family therapy
  • Behavior modification
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT)
  • Art Therapy
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Reality Therapy

By: Srijana Acharya, Nurse/Psychosocial Counselor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *