Warning signs: Internet addiction disorder

Warning signs: Internet addiction disorder

Isn't it strange that with the rise in technological innovations, there is also a rise in addiction towards it? Does that make it counter productive? I'm sure that is going to be a long debate. In today's article we are going to discuss the increase of Internet addiction disorder among young generation.

Internet addiction disorder was recently classified as a separate mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Various Internet connected devices are made available to us at a very young age. We all can see small toddlers crying and wailing over mobile phones and other gadgets. Teenagers have gotten more and more dependent towards the use of their gadgets to even engage in simple communications. I understand that using the internet has become an integral parts of our life these days. We cannot sustain without it. But when does it become a problem? Where is the line after which it is actually considered to be an addiction? When should we consult a mental health professional for this? I will break it down in front of you.

We must be aware of thr warning signs that are around us. First warning sign will be when the Internet usage hours are increasing day by day. While using the Internet, when we end us losing tract of time, or we forget to do the chores or work we were supposed to do, that is another sign for over use. When we try to check on the time we spend on the Internet connected devices, and try to reduce, but find it very challenging. That is another warning sign that you are unable to withdraw from the Internet. I'm sure most of us tend to think "I can stop using it anytime I want to" or "it's not addiction, I'm just free right now". Can you relate this with any of your friends or relatives that say similar things about alchohol or cigarettes? "I can quit anytime I want". Then why haven't you yet? Bottom line is, at some point of time, Internet end up replacing the quality family time, the work time, the self care time, the introspection time. That, my friend, is another warning sign.

Let's do a little activity. Try to remember your past week, precisely past week's bedtime. How many times can you recall yourself sacrificing your sleep schedule to stay online? A few times is acceptable but does it happen every second night? Sleep is THE most important physiological function of our body. Please remember, anything that comes in the way of your regular sleep cycle, is not worth it. People with addiction to the Internet end up getting aggressive once someone tries to withdraw the device. Imagine a scenario, where your family is asking you to come have dinner with them. Are you likely to snap at them just so you don't have to discontinue your online game or chat? Internet addiction disorder or misuse of Internet often lead to disturbed interpersonal relationships. The warning sign is when your close ones start to express concerns about your use of the Internet. When we are unable to stay away from our phones or laptops at family gatherings or other ceremonies, don't you think that is going to impact your relationships?


Individuals with Internet addiction disorder tend to feel more open and satisfying to interact on the Internet than in person. This evidently has a major hit on your social skills. Developing social skills is extremely important for our work life and to function as an healthy individual in society. Internet addiction hampers your chance to work on your social skills too. This inturn end up effecting their work life. I will explain how. Whenever someone prefers interacting more over the Internet, that is most commonly because of social anxiety or poor confidence. Due to this, it is easier to talk to a person when you don't have to face them. And of course, if anything goes wrong, you can always block them. The problem arises when this gets more and more often to the extent that one doesn't feel the need to work on the social anxiety and confidence issues. Ultimately, when their work life requires these social skills, they end up missing on opportunities because of being less forth coming. I am not shaming thesr people. I am just emphasising on how important social skills are and how over use of Internrt usr can disrupt that.

Have you ever experienced physical issues due to over use of the Internet? For example, a sore thumb or finger, eye strain, red eyes, numbness or any other physical issues. Depending upon the frequency of these, this is another warning sign. Lastly, ask yourself one question. Do you think that your life will be a lot less interesting and happy without the access to the Internet? Can you say that a major portion of your happiness is dependent on the Internet? If we withdraw all your Internet connected gadgets for a week, will you be able to make yourself happy? 

If you or anyone near you fit under any of these situations, I urge you to check on your Internet habits. It is not possible to make a diagnosis through an article, but if you find yourself under the situations discussed above, it certainly qualifies as over use. It will be good if you get it under control before an intervention is required. Consult a psychologist near you. 

About the Author

Vidushi Aggarwal

It's great to see the rapid growth of mental awareness in India, we still have a long way to go though. As a budding Clin

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