The creation of the internet has brought about a lot of knowledge and power to society. With all creations of such power comes the good and the bad. As humans we tend to pursue pleasurable activities in excess. This can lead to severe problems, such as internet addiction. Dr. Maressa Hecht Orzack states,”Internet addiction demonstrates a loss of impulse control where life has become unmanageable for the online user, yet despite these problems, the person cannot give up the Internet. The computer becomes the primary relationship in their life “(Orzack, 1999).
Recent research indicates that Internet addiction (which includes online offerings such as sexual interaction, video games, gambling, and Facebook) is reaching ever increasing numbers in children, adolescents and adults all over the world. Children and adolescents asked to abstain from using the Internet often display the same symptoms as those who are drug and alcohol dependent (feelings of withdrawal, craving, anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, etc.). To complicate understanding this situation even further, the idea that Internet use can be an addiction is still gaining acceptance. Add to this the fact that Internet use is socially acceptable and that clinicians often have difficulty diagnosing this addiction and a disturbing trend presents itself.
While Internet addiction first appeared in literature in 1999, research regarding prevalence, etiological factors, theories, and assessment are still preliminary. As with any new disorder or disease, more research needs to be conducted to determine how best to educate the public and evaluate and treat those suffering from Internet addiction.
Orzack, M.H. (1999). Computer addiction: Is it real or is it virtual? Harvard Mental Health Letter, (15(7), 8.
Young, K.S., Nabuco de Abreu, C. (2011). Internet addiction: A handbook and guide to evaluation and treatment. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
I am a clinical social worker who has been practicing in the South Florida area for 22 years. For the last eight years I have been in private practice providing clinical therapeutic services to individuals, families and couples. I am consistently distressed and discouraged by the number of clients presenting with problems associated with excessive and/or inappropriate use of technology that interferes with normal, healthy functioning. By normal healthy functioning I mean the ability to successfully take care of one’s self physically, intellectually and emotionally as well as the ability to be successful in occupational, family and relationship roles. A few of the problems I have been presented with are age inappropriate exposure to graphic sex and violence by children as young as four, posting of sexually explicit photographs by minors, cyber bullying, excessive and obsessive viewing of pornography and virtual relationships and pseudo attachments interfering with relationships with real, live people.
Social media does not just occupy too much time that could be spent with real people, it has become the primary method of socialization. This is sad and very, very scary.
by Cathy Lovern, LCSW, CPRP, DCSW, CFSW
Clinical Consultant, Lovern Counseling and Consulting
If you or someone you know is suffering from a technology addiction, you are not alone and we are here to help. Please reach out to us today, you deserve to live a happy, healthy, balanced life! All calls and inquires are confidential and screened by a trained and licensed health professional. Our network of licensed health professionals can diagnose and treat a wide variety of addiction and mental health issues. Your call is confidential and will be handled by a trained caring health professional. Call 786-505-6419 to talk about technology addiction counseling today. Thank you for your interest in Reboot & Recover.
-Dr. Stephanie L. Diez, LCSW, MCAP, Ph.D., Founder & President
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