Internet Addiction Disorder

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Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) refers to the problematic use of the Internet, including the various aspects of its technology, such as electronic mail (e-mail) and the World Wide Web. In some ways this behavior resembles other "process" addictions to an activity or behavior (such as gambling, shopping, or certain sexual behaviors) rather than a substance (mood-altering drugs, tobacco, food, etc.).


Why should I be aware of this?

  • The main concern is in the ways in which a person’s Internet use interferes with his personal and social lives, as well as other tasks such as school or job related responsibilities.
  • It is suspected that a combination of genetic factors may make a person more susceptible to addictive behaviors, including Internet addiction, just as researchers have located genes that affect a person's susceptibility to alcohol.
  • Although so far research on this form of disorder is limited, the treatments that have been used appear to be effective.
  • Though in the past, mostly the young were people reported to have an Internet addiction, today problematic Internet use can be found in any age group, social class, racial or ethnic group, level of education and income, and gender.

All about Internet Addiction Disorder

Experts describe an internet addict as a person who spends 6-8 hours daily on internet, surfing without a purpose. An Internet addict may feel the same sense of excitement and pleasurable change in mood on booting a computer and going to his favorite sites as a shopaholic would feel with actions related to a spending spree— checking one's credit cards, driving to the mall, going into one's favorite store, etc.

Types of Internet addiction

  • Cybersex and cyberporn addiction is the most common form of Internet addiction because of the widespread availability of sexual content online.
  • Online affairs have also emerged as a sub-type of Internet abuse given the widespread popularity of interactive online applications such as chat rooms and instant messaging leading to surprising new trends in divorce and marital separation.
  • Addictions to eBay, online gambling and multi-user role-playing online games are growing new forms of Internet abuse.


Though the concept of an "addictive personality" has not been established by research, it is possible that a person with one form of addiction may be prone to become addicted to other substances or activities, including Internet use. Some may also use it as “self-medication” for problems such as stress, loneliness, anxiety or isolation. They are likely to use the Internet in the same way as others use and become addicted to substances or activities.

Other reasons

  • Social or peer dynamics might prompt excessive Internet use.
  • Some may find it easier to interact with people online as they lack the social skills to meet people in real life.
  • Peer behavior might also encourage Internet use if one's friends are using it.
  • Some witness and experience how others engage in Internet use and then replicate that behavior.
  • The Internet’s interactive aspects, such as chat rooms, e-mail, and interactive games, seem to be more likely to lead to Internet addiction than purely solitary web surfing.


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