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Internet addiction

This topic describes about internet addiction.

Rampant access and use of internet is slowly leading to a mental health issue termed "Internet addiction". Internet addiction disorder (IAD), or more broadly Internet overuse, problematic computer use or pathological computer use is excessive computer use that interferes with daily life. These terms avoid the distracting and divisive term addiction and are not limited to any single cause.

While about 6 per cent of children were found to be affected by Internet addiction worldwide, it is higher in India with 7.1 per cent found to be addicted to the Internet.

Psychological symptoms

  • Having a sense of well-being or euphoria while at the computer
  • Inability to stop the activity
  • Craving more and more time at the computer
  • Neglecting family and friends
  • Feeling empty, depressed and irritable when not at the computer
  • Lying to family and friends about activities
  • Problems with school or work

How is the addiction assessed?

Standard available tools are used to assess the technology addiction (Internet addiction test Young 1999), Facebook intensity scale (Ellison et al 2007), Lie bet gambling scale (Johnson et al 1988). For other addiction like mobile, pornography, video game and shopping, screening questions were evolved using Four C’s :

  • Craving (desire to engage in these behaviors)
  • Control (experiencing inability to control these behaviors)
  • Compulsion (engagement in behaviors despite no need)
  • Consequences (experienced effects due to engagement in these behaviors)

If a person has a ‘yes’ to three or more, there is a need to change the pattern of technology devices.

Internet de-addiction centres

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore has started the Internet De-addiction services called the SHUT (Service for Healthy Use of Technology) clinic since April, 2014, with a view to destigmatize the mental health issues arising out of excessive use of information technology and to enhance treatment seeking behavior. The service is given in the clinic every Saturday. The clinic has faculty from Clinical Psychology, Psychiatric Social Work and Epidemiology. The main objectives of the clinic are to raise awareness through workshops, lectures and information materials, to build up manpower through trainings and develop interventions. Most of the users are in the 14-19 age group and from middle to upper socioeconomic status.

Source : Portal Content Team

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