To some, internet addiction may seem like a harmless or even fake problem. In reality, it is just as tangible as alcoholism and compulsive gambling, among other addictions. It isn’t as simple as one addiction, however, as the term is generally used to describe subtypes of addiction in relation to the internet. A 2014 study determined about 16% of 18- to 25-year-olds are involved in compulsive internet use, but it is not formally recognized in the United States as a mental illness.


Is internet addiction a real thing?

Children are especially vulnerable to internet addiction (also known as IAD), because their brains develops through human relationships and patterns of use. IAD can create compulsive bad habits that could prove harmful as children grow. There isn’t much research about this social phenomenon, however it’s gaining traction as technology becomes more and more widespread and readily available.

Signs of tech dependence can include:

  • anger, anxiety, heightened restlessness, irritability, or withdrawal when access to the internet is limited or denied altogether
  • obsessive or compulsive use of the internet

Subtypes of internet addiction include:

  • gaming
  • gambling
  • shopping
  • pornography
  • social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  • texting

Based on these types of IAD, it is easy to imagine how they can spiral out of control and cause problems. According to CNN, internet addiction can become a source of chronic tension, compromised physical health, emotional distress, decreased performance at work and school, and an obstacle to emotional intimacy.

In some cases, people use a subtype of internet addiction as a coping mechanism to deal with another problem. This could range from dealing with a traumatic event, social anxiety, emotional turbulence, or to fill psychological needs. Because of this, many people with internet addiction require professional help beyond simply lessening their internet use. As with other addictions, like alcohol and drug abuse problems, internet addicts can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy used widely in rehab centers. Discovering the root cause of the addiction will help in treating it and getting back to living a healthy, normal lifestyle that isn’t controlled by internet use.

An alternative to seeking professional help in instances where maybe a child is spending too much time using technology is to encourage them to get involved in other activities. Teaching children when they’re young to not spend all their time on a computer, phone, or tablet will help them in the long run.


Dealing with any addiction is difficult.  Treatment Now has a team of recovery experts who are available to answer any questions, so call today at xxx-xxx-xxxx.