Internet Rehab: Do You Need It?

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Shane Jones
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Shane Jones
Shane Jones
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title="addiction by Alan Cleaver, on Flickr" href="">addiction

Addiction can come in virtually any form. First there was alcohol and drug rehab for chemical dependencies. Then there was support groups and counseling for those struggling with pornography and gambling. There are even options out there for people who become addicted to their work.

It should come as no surprise, then, an addiction to the Internet has now been recognized in many countries as a legitimate illness.

It really isn’t difficult to understand how Internet addiction became a problem. We, as a society, depend on technology more and more every day to accomplish the things we need to do and find the information we need.

With the creation of online social networking sites, niches sites, forums, games and shopping sites, there is just so much to do online that no one could possibly ever have time to experience it all. But spending too much time in cyberspace and too little time in the real world could lead to a host of complications, including a mental breakdown.

A Complex Sort of Addiction

Drug addiction is complex enough, and not everything is understood about it yet. But there is, at least, the benefit of knowing an outside chemical produces biological reactions in the brain that lead to addiction.

Internet addiction is a horse of a different color. Rather than introducing a foreign substance into the body, there is simply and input of a habit. Indeed, Internet addiction may be more of a form of obsession or compulsion than dependency in the traditional sense of the word.

Nevertheless, psychologists are concerned about the effect Internet addiction is having on society at large. People who use online communication as a substitute for real-life relationships may begin to experience feelings of withdrawal, depression and the inability to interact healthily in social situations. The Internet may begin to consume their lives, to the point that shutting down the computer and going out with friends holds no interest anymore.

This type of behavior is unhealthy to say the least. It also could lead to the development of obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Today online networking sites make it easier than ever to learn about a person’s life without having to actually interact with that person. What begins as a simple curiosity about an old classmate or ex-relationship can easily progress into cyber-stalking. It can get to the point that a person experiences marked anxiety if they are unable to find the information they want when they want it.

Since Internet addiction is only now being recognized, and more research is needed to discover the mechanisms of this type of addiction, treatment options are limited. Counseling and therapy, however, may be effective at managing Internet addiction and recovering a normal, healthy lifestyle.