The Internet is now an integral, even inescapable, part of many people’s daily lives; they turn to it to send messages, read news, conduct business, and much more. But recently we have seen a preoccupation that some people, especially teenagers, develop with certain aspects of the Internet, particularly online games, and social media. The “Internet addicts” compulsively use the internet, to the exclusion of other interests, and their persistent and recurrent online activity results in clinically significant impairment of daily activities, or distress to others. People with this condition endanger their academic or job functioning because of the amount of time they spend on the internet. They experience symptoms of withdrawal when pulled away from their browsing.
Research shows that when these individuals are engrossed in the Internet, certain pathways in their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance. This prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward, and the result, is manifested as addictive behavior.
Cyber-relationship addiction is an addiction to social networking such as Facebook, WhatsApp and online dating services. Virtual online friends start to gain more communication and importance over time to the person, becoming more important than real-life family and friends .
Internet addiction disorder may be an attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings arising from underlying mental health issues, most commonly depression, OCD, social anxiety, and stress and sometimes may even be a sign of loss of touch with reality which is a symptom of psychosis.
Internet addiction, therefore, needs to be identified and treated early to avoid serius complications in later life.
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