Excessive Web use can be debilitating and disruptive to everyday life
As the Web importance grows in day-to-day life, Internet addiction is becoming recognized as a legitimate and serious disorder. While the benefits of Facebook, email and other ways to connect with your community and friends are well-recognized, those suffering from Internet addiction disorder take a healthy activity and escalate it to abnormal levels.
Internet addiction has been recognized in many studies as a considerably harmful ailment.
Although Internet addiction does not have an official definition, it is a behavioral disorder where a person spends an excessive amount of time online. Those afflicted with the addiction seek the instant gratification of communication, video games, gambling and pornography, among other things, on the Web to the point that their behavior becomes obsessive and compulsive. Teenagers have been shown to be the demographic most affected by the disorder.
Studies have cited many symptoms of Internet addiction including depression, aggression, trouble in relationships, poor appetite, irregular sleeping patterns, skipping meals, increased use of alcohol and tobacco as well as physical symptoms like back strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
One study found that in a selected population of 2,853 adolescents, 1.2% had Internet addiction. The same study concluded that there were correlations among addictive behaviors including gambling, work addiction and compulsive buying, so a person affected by Internet addiction is susceptible to or may have another addictive disorder. Typically, the occurrence rate of Internet addiction has been found to be around 1% for serious cases and approximately 2-3% in less severe instances.
Currently, researchers are making the argument for Internet addiction to be added to the official list of diagnosable disorders in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Whether Internet addiction is officially recognized or not, it will continue to be debated and dealt with among the psychiatric community. (ref: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)