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How to survive Internet Addiction Disorder

The ''internet addiction'' is a relatively new form of addiction that was first defined by Goldberg (1995) and became a really popular terminology by the end of 1996. 

The American Psychiatricd Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines internet addiction as a ''psychological disorder''. 

Dr. Jerald Block, notes 4 common characteristics of this internet addiction disorder (IAD)
  • The excessive use:  Usually is accompanied by impaired sense of the passage of time and/or neglecting basic physical needs.  
  • The withdrawal: When an individual is prevented from going online and most of the time its accompanied by anger, tension and/or depression.
  • The Tolerance: Longer use of the internet or a perceived need for upgrades or new software.  
  • Negative repercussions to someone’s behavior: This might include arguments, anger, fatigue, problems at work or school, lack of achievement and social isolation.  
According to the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, ''teenagers are more vulnerable to become addicted to the internet and can happen to anyone who uses the internet more time that he can handle''.

Dr Hao describes internet addiction to be similar to drug addiction. More specifically, he notes ''addicted teens seem to have nerve fiber connection problems and this affects their ability to control their emotions, their selves and their decision making process.''

How do people become addicted to the Internet.
There is large number of people who use the internet in order to manage unpleasant feelings, get rid of stress, loneliness, depression and anxiety. Many people after a bad day at work or school get back home and want to escape reality, relieve stress and internet is something that offers this! Feelings of loneliness, stress, depression and boredom seem to disappear temporarily as a person gets lost in cyberspace

It's true that internet can relieve someone from his personal problems, however we have to admit that there are more healthy and effective ways to feel better. Some of these ways might be exercising, meditating, and practicing simple relaxation techniques.

Signs and symptoms of Internet and Computer addiction
Signs and symptoms of Internet addiction might differ from person to person. There are not set hours per day or per week that can define if someone is addicted to internet or not. At the same time, there are some general warning signs that show that internet becomes addictive. Some of them might include loosing track of time online, having trouble completing tasks at work or home, isolation from family and friends, feeling guilty or defensive about Internet use and feeling an unreal sense of euphoria while involved in Internet activities.

How to overcome this addiction
The first thing is to analyze the information indicated above and compare your own internet habits. Be objective and honest with yourself. Denial is the greatest enemy!

If you fear that you may be a victim to IAD do the following:
  • Set a strict time/duration to be on the internet and stick to it. Try the Tomato Time App. 
  • Take up Meditation or Yoga, as it will help your self-control. 
  • Ask friends and family for help. 
  • Build and internet free routine and social life.
  • Never eat with a Mobile Phone, Laptop or Tablet. 
  • For bad cases consider Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. 
If you feel that you might be completely addicted to the internet don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. This will make you face this problem and get back to your normal lifestyle and routine, as it used to be before the addiction.

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