Does excessive computer or phone use interfere with your daily life – your relationships, work, school? If so, you may be suffering from an Internet addiction disorder. Internet addiction becomes a fact when online activities start overriding other daily activities.

The inevitable problem with this disorder is that nowadays we are surrounded by technology. Many of our tasks for the day can be done with the help of the Internet. Can’t find that shirt you want in the store? No worries, you will probably find it online! Want to order a pizza? Why call? Place an order online! Can’t call a friend to play a video game at 3 a.m. when you’re suffering from insomnia and can’t fall asleep? All of these features of our modern lives potentially make it difficult to treat internet addiction. Some of the most common types of internet addiction are associated with computer gaming, social networking and online shopping.

It is through social networks that the dependence on online communication can manifest itself at the expense of the live connection with family, friends and loved ones. In the extreme form of this dependency, it is possible to use false identities and mislead others. Therefore, this is not only harmful to a person’s mental and emotional well-being, but it is also dangerous.

Another form of internet addiction reveals itself through online shopping. Compulsive shopping can have a negative psychological and financial impact on an individual as losing a large amount of money can cause significant stress in one’s life.

A less frequently mentioned but increasingly relevant dependency is compulsive information seeking. The Internet provides users with a large volume of information and knowledge. For some, the opportunity to find information so easily becomes an irresistible desire to collect and organize data. In certain cases, the uncontrollable information seeking is a sign of pre-existing obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Compulsive information seeking can also reduce work productivity and potentially lead to job termination.

Last but not least, we will share about the computer games addiction. Over 700 million people play online games worldwide, and while this is often just a harmless way to pass the time, gaming can be very addictive. In addition to the risk of developing an addiction, compulsive computer gaming can have long-term negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health. It can lead to lack of sleep, disrupted eating habits and even self-isolation. All of these things can lead to fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. This is a problem that has become so prevalent that it has now been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and classified as Internet gaming disorder. The DSM has also warned that constant and repeated online activity can cause clinically significant impairment or distress, as certain neural pathways are triggered just as in drug addiction.

As we highlighted at the beginning of this article, Internet addiction manifests itself in behaviors that have an aversive effect on important areas of our lives. The path to dealing with any addiction is challenging, but becoming aware of the problem and seeking adequate and competent help are the first steps to regaining balance in one’s own life.