Most definitions of addiction focus on substance abuse.
However, there are a variety of potentially addictive behaviours, including many that do not involve drug use. These non-chemical addictions include behaviours such as gambling, sex, work or shopping.
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have opened new possibilities and have become essential tools in our social and professional lives. However, excessive use of ICT can lead to problems and addictive behaviour.
ICT addiction is a compulsive behaviour that replaces verbal communication with our environment with the use of electronic media. Techno-addicts seek in technology a refuge to hide their fears and anxieties. In some cases, users end up developing very different personalities, both in terms of gender and age, due to the addiction to social networks (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) or other platforms.
PSYCHOLOGICAL DEPENDENCIES OR ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS
Any behaviour that meets these seven criteria will be defined as an addiction:
Tolerance, defined by any of the following:
Need to significantly increase time spent on the Internet to obtain satisfaction
Significant decrease in effects with continued use of the same amount of time on the Internet
Abstinence, which is manifested by the following symptoms:
Reduction in prolonged use of the Internet
Obsessive thoughts about what will happen on the internet
Fantasies or dreams about the internet
Voluntary or involuntary typing movements
Symptoms result in discomfort or impairment of social, occupational, or other important functioning.
Use of the Internet or similar service is intended to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
The Internet is accessed more frequently or for longer than originally intended.
Persistent craving or unsuccessful efforts to control or stop Internet use.
A lot of time is spent on activities related to internet use (buying books on the internet, testing new browsers, researching ISPs, organizing a folder, or downloading documents).
Social, occupational, or recreational activities are stopped or reduced because of Internet use.
Internet use continues despite knowing that one has a persistent or recurring physical, social, occupational, or psychological problem that appears to be caused or exacerbated by Internet use (e.g., lack of sleep, marital difficulties, lateness for morning appointments, neglect of work duties.
Therefore, what is important in addiction is not the specific activity that generates the addiction, but the relationship that is established with it.
In the case of Internet addiction, as in any “addictive behaviour”, it is very important to follow a treatment focused on behaviour modification and impulse control. Anxiety and interpersonal conflicts must be controlled, and the patient’s lifestyle must be reviewed.
The goal of treatment for ICT addiction is to regain full control of the patient’s life.
If necessary, an in-patient facility is available to begin treatment.
If you suspect that a family member or loved one is addicted to the Internet, the most urgent thing to do is to get a professional diagnosis where advice is given on the type of treatment the patient should follow. A personalized follow-up with high therapeutic intensity is always provided.
At “INICIA” ADDICTIONS TREATMENT, we will recommend the most appropriate solution in each case and advise the family and the patient on how to proceed.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team of professionals offer advice on the most effective way to address the problem at hand and to promote healthy habits that will help the patient make a full recovery.
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