Although “Internet Addiction Disorder” might sound like a fake illness invented by a pampered generation, the truth is far more dangerous. Research shows that Internet Addiction Disorder carries with it all the same gravity as any other addiction – down to the way in which dopamine functions in the brain. In other words, Internet Addiction Disorder affects the mind in a manner similar to controlled substances.
Culture vs. Addiction
Since Internet Addiction Disorder is such a new concept, it is easy to misinterpret. Simply going online multiple times a day does not necessarily constitute Internet Addiction Disorder, just like a teen suffering the disorder might not be online 24 hours a day (although, chances are, they will make every effort be). The difference is in the impact.
To qualify as Internet Addiction Disorder, internet use must turn into a compulsion with withdrawal effects if it is forcefully limited. Lying about being on the internet, the inability to control online behavior, and compulsive use are symptoms of the issue. Typically, when a teen has Internet Addiction Disorder, they will only be happy when “using” – as such, their non-digital life (including social interactions, school performance, and relationships) will take a heavy toll. Moreover, like with many other drugs, the teen might lose track of time while on the computer.
Back to Reality
As a parent, there are several steps that can be taken to bring your child back to our world. While making your teen quit cold turkey looks good on paper, in reality, it is likely to cause them to lash back. Instead, try gradually decreasing your teen’s smartphone and computer use and implementing a healthy routine. By encouraging your teen to be active and social, you will organically take away the time they could be spending on the computer.
Internet Addiction Disorder is sometimes a result of outside difficulties – for instance, stress, family problems, and school troubles; remember to communicate with your teen about what might be causing the underlying problem.
If your teen’s Internet Addiction Disorder gets out of hand, it might be time to consider professional help.
Solstice can help
If your child is constantly hooked to their phone and is struggling with addictive behavioral issues, consider Solstice as an option. Solstice, a residential treatment center for teen girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18, helps struggling teens find success.
For more information about Solstice, please call (866) 278-3345!