Accessibility around the clock, around the globe. The Internet has become an integral part of our society and our everyday lives, as well as business and private. Via e-mail, messenger or via chat rooms, the possibility of communication is almost limitless, virtual department stores, legal information portals or online learning are just a few examples of the variety of use on the Internet. How fluid is the border between normal internet usage and internet addiction? The term Internet addiction first appeared in 1995 and was coined by psychiatrist Ivan Goldberg. Since then, a variety of innovations have been recorded around the Internet, unlike the 90s, there is hardly a home in Western society without an Internet connection, the same applies to companies. But with the increase in virtual offerings can simultaneously grow the risk of possible Internet addiction.
Internet addiction or pathological internet use
At present there is no binding term that unites the symptoms and effects of a possible Internet addiction. Instead of Internet addiction is also often the language of pathological Internet use or a disorder of their own impulse control. Because an Internet addiction is not a dependence of a substance, such as alcohol or nicotine, it is rather a compulsion for a certain behavior, in this case, an urgent desire to use the Internet frequently. The use on the Internet can be completely different. Whether games, chat rooms, frequent checking of e-mails or other activities in the network, the possibilities are enormous. Chat rooms are often used by people who are shy in reality. Here you can quickly and easily get in touch with others, even immerse yourself in other personalities. Games on the Internet are assigned in a possible Internet addiction mainly young people.
Symptoms and consequences of internet addiction
Although the clinical picture has not yet been exhaustively explored, characteristic symptoms as well as possible effects of excessive use of the Internet can be seen in the following areas:
- loss of control
- Strong loss of reality
- Impairment in the social environment to social isolation
- Physical stress symptoms
- Psychic effects
The loss of control plays a central role in Internet addiction. No control over time, but also the loss of control over oneself can be decisive factors for a dependency behavior in connection with the medium Internet. Often, internet addiction starts with spending more and more time on the Internet every day.
At first, this does not stand out because the process is insidious. However, the person concerned suddenly has less and less time to take care of other activities such as housework, hobbies. The workplace and the circle of friends can also be affected by an increase in Internet addiction. In the worst case, internet addiction can even lead to job losses due to Internet abuse at work or complete isolation. Often sufferers feel shame when they realize that they lose control through the Internet. However, problematically, shame and guilt can trivialize the actual useful life on the Internet or even lie to others in order to escape therapy. These actions can then also have psychological consequences. Affected individuals are irritable or even aggressive when they are approached by a related problem with the Internet of related parties. Therapy can be helpful.
Help and therapy in internet addiction
In addition to the characteristic change caused by internet addiction, this can - without therapy - also have consequences for the health. Sleep disturbances due to over-stimulation of the senses, nervous stomach problems, headache and eye pain may possibly be triggered by excessive use on the Internet. To return to a realistic approach to the Internet requires therapy and help from outsiders. Counseling centers can help affected and relatives here and provide addresses for a possible therapy.