Addiction to the internet is the most threatening issue in India. 53% of total population of India is addicted to the Internet as per a research survey. This is higher than the global addiction population which is only 51%. Continuous advancement in technology has made internet accessible to people of all classes. The most common websites accessed among the internet users are the social networking sites, blogs, chat sites, online shopping sites etc.
Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is a term that is commonly used to describe people with excessive use of the internet when it hinders the daily activities of life. IAD is officially recognized as a clinical disorder.
Types of Addiction
IAD covers a variety of compulsive activities that uses the internet.
1. Gaming addiction
Many school and college students are addicted to this type of IAD. Individuals getting addicted to this type have a compulsive thought to play online games and it becomes uncontrollable that their real life gets neglected.
2. Spending addiction
Online shopping is a habit that gets out of control. Shopping addicts tend to buy things that are of no use to them. In order to experience a feeling of owning something new or winning a high placing bid these people get addicted to online shopping. Such people actually do not know how much they spend online.
Internet and social networking sites are a great way to meet and interact with new people. This may even lead to romantic relationship. Such romantic relationships over the internet are often more intense than the real life relationship as they offer an opportunity to live out the ultimate fantasies. A huge problem with such online relationships is that there is always an opportunity that they lie about their age, appearance, relationship status, job and even the sex. Such online relationships may end in emotional distress when they happen to meet to meet in real life.
4. Cybersex and Pornography
Since the internet is a great way of escaping reality, people spending more time in the internet engage in cybersex, view pornography, spend time in adult chat rooms etc Such indulgence will put an end to their real life relationships, as well as it affects their career and emotional well being.
Symptoms of IAD
Internet usage becomes a problem only when it hinders the daily activities of life. It becomes a serious problem only when the individual is out of real life.
There are various symptoms of IAD. Below are given some general symptoms or indicators which can people can be aware of –
- Losing track of time – Most people addicted to internet feel that they are unable to keep a track of time when they are online and spend more time compared to actually what they intended.
- Social isolation – Many people with IAD feel that people in virtual life understand them more than any real life person can. Therefore they face a stained real life relationship which ultimately isolates them.
- Stress relief – If people use the internet for stress relief purposes or for sexual gratification then there might be a serious underlying issue.
- Guilt feeling – If any person addicted to the internet feels guilty about the amount of spent over the internet, it is time to get professional help
- Physical symptoms – Apart from all the emotional and mental aspects of IAD discussed above, there are physical symptoms also like poor eye sight, back ache, neck pain, head aches, sleep disorders, weight gain or weight loss etc.,
IAD can cause affect the individual in physical, mental and emotional planes as well.
Causes of IAD
Escapism is the most important cause of IAD. People who do not want to face their real life problems try to get some pleasure from virtual life. They use the internet as an outlet for their negative feelings as it can provide temporary comfort, company as well as relationship.
Counseling and psychotherapy is a safe and confidential way of exploring the addiction and the effects it has on the physical and mental health. Yoga therapy added with counseling can help patients with IAD to a greater extent.