Different Types of Internet Addiction

Back to Addiction Blog
Different Types of Internet Addiction

Different Types of Internet Addiction

Nowadays, internet and computer use are ingrained in most of society and have changed the way we live our lives. From tracking to location sharing to online communication, the internet has evolved into one of the world’s greatest assets and most commonly used tools. However, as with most things, too much of something isn’t always a good thing. While many people believe hours of scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube videos are harmless or even beneficial, some people spend so much of their lives in front of a screen that it has become a serious concern. Despite the evolution of the internet, we know very little of the different types of internet addiction and the effects of internet addiction on our mental health and overall well-being.


What Is Internet Addiction?

Although internet addiction is yet to be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, many professionals recognize it as a formal addiction. Those who don’t, tend to classify it as either obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or impulse control disorder. Other names for internet addiction include cyber addiction, compulsive computer use, pathological internet use, internet compulsion, and internet dependence. The term “internet addiction” is a broad one that covers a range of behaviors and impulse-control issues involving the internet, computer, or mobile phones. While there are no specific criteria to diagnose a cyber addiction, researchers have identified five different types of internet addictions.


Cybersex Addiction

Cybersex addiction refers to online pornography, sexual fantasy/adult chat rooms, XXX webcam services, and more. Individuals with a cybersex addiction are addicted to these types of services, which can negatively impact their ability to make real connections with others and build healthy relationships.


Net Compulsions

Net compulsions refer to interactive online activities like gambling, trading stocks, online auctions (like eBay), and compulsive online shopping. These habits greatly impact a person’s financial situation and disrupt job-related tasks. Spending or losing excessive amounts of money can also lead to stress in one’s relationships, contributing to an additional set of problems. The internet provides instant access to online casinos and stores, making it simple for people who are susceptible to gambling or online shopping to become hooked on the internet. Gambling addiction is a separate disease, but one that often stems from internet addiction. Individuals with this problem can recover with the help of our gambling addiction treatment in Lake Worth.


Cyber/Online Relationship Addiction

Cyber or online relationship addiction involves finding and maintaining online relationships to the point where real-life relationships and responsibilities are neglected. Usually, people in online relationships meet in chat rooms on various social networking sites or apps, but these relationships can occur anywhere you can interact with others online. Often, people who pursue online relationships conceal their real identities. This common phenomenon has been coined the term catfish. There’s even an MTV Show called by the same name that stars Nev Shulman and Max Joseph in their pursuit of uncovering catfish identities.


After being consumed by an online life and persona, people’s social skills may suffer, and they may apply unrealistic expectations about in-person interactions with others. More often than not, this causes an inability to create real connections with people in their lives, thus making them more dependent on their online relationships and personas. As a Lake Worth center for both addiction and mental health, we also provide social skills development therapy to teach people with mental disorders how to build healthy relationships and interact with others.


Computer or Gaming Addiction

Computer addiction or computer gaming addiction involves online and offline activities that can be done on a computer. Computer software became more advanced, and more people could afford home computers, then games like Solitaire, Tetris, and Minesweeper were programmed into their software. Eventually, it was discovered that many people struggled with obsessive computer game playing. Office employees would spend excessive amounts of time playing these games, which heavily impacted their productivity. Today, not only are these games still available on computers, but there are thousands more like them that can be accessed online for free.


Compulsive Information Seeking

The internet offers users access to an enormous database of knowledge. For some, the ability to find information so easily has become an uncontrollable urge to collect and organize data. In some cases, information seeking is a symptom or manifestation of pre-existing, obsessive-compulsive predispositions. As with computer gaming addiction, compulsive information seeking online can also affect work productivity and potentially result in job termination. Individuals with compulsive tendencies also tend to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Many people with OCD turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, which is why these conditions are often co-occurring. Not only do we offer individual addiction programs at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, but we also offer dual diagnosis treatment for individuals who suffer from both an addiction and mental disorder.


What Are the Effects of Internet Addiction?

Because the internet has become such a common tool, not many people realize the dangers of internet addiction. Spending too much time online can be detrimental to a person’s mental and physical health. As with drugs or alcohol, a person can become emotionally and psychologically dependent on the internet to gain some sort of relief, pleasure, or satisfaction.


Some common side effects of internet addiction include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Vision problems
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Impaired social skills
  • Relationship problems due to neglect
  • Neglected responsibilities at school, work, or home
  • Job termination
  • Financial problems (especially common among online gambling addicts)


Mental illness and internet addiction are also connected. Numerous studies have found that individuals who spend more time online are more likely to be depressed or experience more trouble completing day-to-day activities. ADHD symptoms, such as difficulties organizing and planning and poor time management, are also common among people with internet addiction.


How to Treat Internet Addiction Disorder

If someone you know has a cyber addiction, the first step is setting up an intervention or expressing your concerns about their behavior. At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we offer a specialized internet addiction treatment program that’s designed specifically for patients with this disorder. This program is conducted by trained and licensed therapists and addiction specialists who utilize our other treatment methods like biofeedback and EMDR therapy to help patients recover.


If you or someone you love is battling internet addiction, mental illness, or substance use disorder, call us now at 561-220-3981 to speak to one of our treatment specialists.


Related Readings:

The Most Dangerous Emotions in Recovery

How to Stage an Intervention for a Gambling Addict

Share this post

Back to Addiction Blog