| Peter Cook

Addicted to computers

Largest Heart May 7th, 2019

Introduction   

Beam me up, Scotty

If someone told our parents 25 years ago that in 2019 there will be severe problems with computer addiction in homes all across America, they would have laughed in disbelief.

The Internet age is so relatively young, and yet, it impacted our lives in ways that could not have been foreseen.

What is computer addiction?  

Computer addiction is not formally listed as part of the DSM-IV (a manual for diagnosing mental disorders) – at least not yet. Research is being done on the subject.   

Seen informally though, it is the disorder in which a person plays games online or turns to the Internet to deal with depression, overcome anxiety, change moods, reduce loneliness or distract himself from problems.   

They are susceptible

Children, adolescents and the elderly are especially vulnerable because they may not realize how destructive their behavior has become or how they isolate themselves from others.

The Internet has, for some, become the center of their lives. It is estimated that every fourth child is addicted to the Internet.

Types of computer addiction

Computer addiction can manifest in several ways.   

  • Less interaction with family members and decreased productivity at work
  • Excessive time spent on gaming, gambling, stock trading or auctions
  • Cybersex addiction that affects relationships in real life
  • Excessive use of social networks, less real-life relationships

What causes this?

  • Studies from the University of Iowa have shown that Internet addiction is quite common in males between 20-30 years old and that they usually also suffer from depression.
  • Some people are predisposed to having a computer addiction.    They may have a lack of emotional support, and they turn to the Internet to try and fulfill a need.
  • People with a history of other types of addiction (alcohol, drugs, sex or gambling) can easy incorporate computers and the Internet into their repertoire.   These individuals often use computers to escape from reality.
  • Overly shy people that struggle to relate to others are also at a high risk to develop an Internet or computer addiction. 

How would I know that someone I love suffers from computer addiction?

People are different, and therefore the emotional and physical symptoms for Internet and computer addiction can differ from person to person.

Emotional and physical symptoms  

Emotional symptoms of online addiction can include anxiety when the person can’t get to his device after a while. He might have feelings of guilt, depression, and he gets defensive when confronted.  

A computer addict is often dishonest about the amount of time he spends in front of his computer. He has no sense of time and is often unable to keep to schedules.   

Physical symptoms can include headaches, backache, weight gain, and vision problems.

The effects

Computer addiction can cause people to forget about their responsibilities. They don’t finish tasks, and they gain weight.   

Over the longer term, the physical symptoms can become more prevalent. In the worst case scenario, computer addiction can lead to bankruptcy.

Get help

An affirmative answer to more than five of these eight questions can indicate an online addiction.

  • Are you preoccupied with the Internet throughout the day? Do you think about it the whole time?
  • Do you always spend more time online than what you originally planned?   
  • Do you need to be online for more extended periods?
  • Have you tried to cut back your Internet use and been unsuccessful?
  • Do you become irritable and moody when you are prevented from using the Internet?
  • Do your online behaviors harm your relationships, education or your job?
  • Are you dishonest about the time you spend online?
  • Is the Internet an escape from reality for you?

Conclusion

Addiction can come in many forms. They all have one thing in common: they affect not only the addict but everyone around him.

Computer addiction can be a serious problem. There is help available. Decide today to don’t let it rule your life anymore. Do something about it.

Largest Heart supports other non-profits such as organizations that will help with computer addiction. Help us to help others by donating today.

 

Resources

 

https://www.psychguides.com/behavioral-disorders/computer-internet-addiction/

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=15912