Like most drug addictions, behavioral addictions have gained a lot of acceptance in recent years. However, internet addiction doesn’t appear in the latest addition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible of mental health conditions for the whole field of psychiatry. In this day and age, that’s somewhat of a surprise, because most of us can admit to being at least a little too dependent on technology. So why isn’t the condition recognized in psychiatry? In truth, it is. Knowing that an addiction is real and being able to classify it are two different ballgames.
Hard To Define
The term internet is broad as can be. Which parts or aspects of the net play into the addictive behavior? The anonymity? The sense of connection? The overflow of stimulation? With opiate, meth, or cocaine addiction, the dependence can be traced directly to a few select chemicals in the central nervous system. The development and progression of addictive behavior can be complicated, but the primary and exacerbating factors of the addiction are clear and visible. With internet addiction, it’s unclear whether the impulsive behavior is rooted in genetics, in the environment, or both.
To put it simply: Internet addiction is a lot more complicated than drug addiction, and so it receives a lot less recognition.
Hard To Accept
There is heavy resistance to the diagnosis itself, regardless of its perceived validity. Unlike gambling, the addictive potential of which doesn’t hit close to home for most people, internet use has become an integral part of daily life for virtually everyone in the country, whether they’re at work, at school, or just anywhere, socializing.
Accepting internet addiction as totally real would make it real for us. We’d be obliged to cut down. Half the country may be diagnosed.
Hard To Ignore
As the consequences of compulsive internet use pile disturbingly high on national health statistic charts, recognition of internet addiction is getting harder and harder to resist. Currently, the majority of teens and adults are overindulging online at troubling levels — and compulsive social media use in particular is now considered a major causal factor in a number of national health problems such as depression, obesity, and improper childhood brain development. Teens today text more than they speak, and they spend more time on sites like Instagram and Twitter than they do sleeping.
Not Too Hard To Treat
Few treatment centers exist specifically for internet addiction, but they are out there. There are also other options: psychotherapy, community groups—these programs work just as well for internet addiction as they do for drug and alcohol addiction. Of these, there is absolutely no shortage.
Feel like your internet use is out of control? You’ve taken a fantastic first step by coming here to research the problem. Now that you know definitively that it’s real, consider technology detox. If you just can’t seem to cut down, call us to discuss treatment programs, how they work, which may be best for you, and how to get there.