Being online has become part of everyday life, for lots of households in the UK. Most people are able to control the time they spend in cyberspace, others can become pre-occupied with the Internet and are unable to control the time they spend online, which can certainly lead to problems for some people. Like any form of repeated behaviour, such as gambling, exercise, and shopping, the Internet can become addictive. The brain can become the psychologically addicted, or neuroadapted. Effectively, the brain becomes wired to accept a certain kind of stimulus and when it doesn’t receive that stimulus it goes looking for it. For some, escaping into cyberspace, when life becomes too difficult for them, or they have to deal with difficult situations or emotions has become a way of life. Below are some of the symptoms which can be, warning signs that a person has become cyber dependent. Excessive time online, can also be a coping strategy to deal with life’s difficulties, if this is a sole coping strategy it can leave one feeling isolated and alone. Furthermore, contribute to a dependency on its use.
Warning signs of Internet addiction
- Finding yourself losing track of time whilst online
- Experiencing mixed emotions which may include a sense of well-being or guilt/ whilst online.
- Favouring online activities to spending time with your family and friends
- Unsuccessfully attempting to curtail your online use.
- Feeling irritable and depressed when you are away from your computer all the time spent has been interrupted.
- Using your computer to deal with negative feelings such as sadness, anger, guilt and shame.
Excessive time online can cause physical discomfort and pain, mainly because you are sitting among place for a great deal of time. There are some of the physical difficulties, one can have from excessive Internet use.
- Pains or numbness in your hands that can spread to the wrists, elbows and shoulders. This can be the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Pains in your back or neck
- Irritable or dry eyes or eyestrain
- Severe headaches
- Disturbed sleep
Recognising you or someone close to you has a problem
The first and most important step in treating any form of dependency, including Internet addiction, is recognising that there is a problem. It is normal for an individual to deny they have a dependency, but if the cost of online use outweighs any benefit. There is a need for some form of treatment.
Eleos counselling has many years helping people overcome addictions. If you would like to know more you can click on the link below and it will take you to a more comprehensive page on addictions.