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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Is Internet Addiction a Red Flag for Other Mental Health Issues?

There may be a link between Internet addiction and certain mental health disorders, according to a recent small study of 254 college students. 

Researchers found that students who had trouble controlling their Internet use had higher rates of depression, anxiety, impulsiveness, and inattention.

“Excessive use of the Internet is an understudied phenomenon that may disguise mild or severe psychopathology,” Dr. Jan Buitelaar of the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands told HealthDay. “Excessive use of the Internet may be strongly linked to compulsive behavior and addiction.”

A larger study is needed, however, to confirm whether these mental health issues are a cause or a result of excessive Internet use.

Do You Know the Signs of Internet Addiction?
Dr. Kimberly Young, an internationally known expert on Internet addiction and founder of the Center for Internet Addiction, devised the following list of questions to diagnose Internet addiction, defined as an impulse-control disorder which does not involve an intoxicant. Answering “yes” to five of these questions may indicate that you or someone you love needs help.
  1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous on-line activity or anticipate next on-line session)?
  2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
  3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
  4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
  5. Do you stay on-line longer than originally intended?
  6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
  7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
  8. Do you uses the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is complicating substance abuse. Once we gain a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s individual health challenges, our addiction treatment team develops a customized program. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

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