Do you use the internet almost 24 hours a day? Are you compulsively shopping online? Constantly checking your Twitter feed? Is your excessive computer use interfering with how you interact with other people? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from Screen Dependency Disorder, also commonly referred to as Compulsive Internet Use (CIU), Problematic Internet Use (PIU), or iDisorder.
Experts in the field of medicine debated if this sickness is real. Back in 1995, it was satirically theorized as a disorder and even compared its original framework to pathological gambling. From these issues, the Screen Dependency Disorder has intensely gained recognition and serious attention from many researchers as a serious disorder.
In the digital age, the Internet has taken over. Most of what we do, as a general population, can be done on the Internet. That’s that main reason why this disorder can be so troubling. It’s hard to live these days by getting rid of the Internet. We’re always surrounded by it—and for most of us, we use it daily.
What causes it?
Just because you spend so much time using the internet doesn’t mean you suffer from Screen Dependency Disorder. The real problem comes when internet activities start to interfere with how you function every day.
Like most disorders, it’s not likely to establish an exact cause of Screen Dependency Disorder. This disorder is characteristic of having dozens of contributing factors. One study even suggests that an individual suffering from this disorder has a brain makeup similar to those that suffer from chemical dependency, such as drugs or alcohol.
Biological predispositions to Internet Addiction Disorder may also be a contributing factor to the disorder. If you suffer from this disorder, your levels of dopamine and serotonin may be deficient compared to the general population. This chemical deficiency may require you to engage in more behaviors to receive the same pleasurable response compared to individuals not suffering from addictive Internet behaviors. To achieve this pleasure, individuals may engage in more behavior to the general public, increasing their chances for addiction.
Internet addiction is also linked to anxiety and depression. Oftentimes, if you are already suffering from anxiety or depression, you may turn to the Internet to relieve your suffering from these conditions. If you are shy or socially awkward, you may turn to the Internet because it does not require interpersonal interaction and it is emotionally rewarding.
Signs and symptoms of Screen Dependency Disorder may present themselves in both physical and emotional manifestations. Some of the most apparent emotional symptoms of SDD may include depression, anxiety, procrastination, and feelings of euphoria when using the computer. Physical symptoms of this disorder may include backache, headaches, poor personal hygiene, neck pain, and weight gain or loss.
Step out of your comfort zone
Do you think you are experiencing these symptoms? The first step in treatment is the recognition that a problem exists. If you do not believe you have a problem, you are not likely to seek treatment. One of the overarching problems with the Internet is that there is often no accountability and no limits. You are hidden behind a screen—and some things that you may say or do online are things you would never do in person.
Creating an even more problematic interaction is the fact that everything is online nowadays. It’s hard to make a distinction between online and offline worlds. In order to avoid acquiring complicated sicknesses, it’s best if you spend more time interacting with people outside your bubble. Maybe then you’ll appreciate that life has more to offer.