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Danny Timpanaro

10/31/10

Recine

Technology Paper

The Detoxification of Internet Addiction

As our society becomes more technologically advanced, the use of the Internet

and technical devices will become more widely used and common in our everyday lives,

but it can also have harmful consequences on the people that use them. Internet addiction

is a rapidly growing problem that has caused negative side effects due to excessive usage.

There are four main traits that make up an Internet addict, which include excessive use,

withdrawal, tolerance, and negative repercussions (Block). Each symptom has some

damaging ramification on the mind and daily habits of the user.

Excessive use of the Internet is the first sign of an Internet addict. If someone is

constantly checking social network statuses on Facebook, viewing emails frequently, or

spending prolonged periods of time browsing the web, they possess the first warning

signs of an Internet addict. Many people can be suffering from Internet obsession and not

even know it. One website that is peeling families apart is Facebook. A consumer electric

shopping site, Retrevo, “Surveyed about 1,000 people and found that 56 percent of social

media users check Facebook at least once a day; 12 percent check every couple of hours”

(Frazier). Using the Internet this much can be extremely hazardous to your health. Just

like any other addiction, it affects the way your brain functions and can have a significant

impact on your emotions and daily responsibilities. Recently, a study was done by Angie

Page at the University of Bristol, UK, who concluded, based on scientific research that,
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“Children who watch TV or play computer games for 2 hours or more a day are more

likely to have poor concentration, behave badly and have difficulties relating to other

people” (Fleming). Internet addiction is very similar to any other addictive substance.

Prolonged exposure and excessive use will have immediate, and long-term consequences

on the users brain. People need to close the laptop screen, switch off that smart phone

Facebook app, and get some fresh air once in a while.

In addition to an overindulgent use of the Internet, another characteristic of an

addict is withdrawal. Due to the abuse and the uncontrollable crave to be online; a

dependency begins to build in the mind of an Internet junkie. Users may go through

similar symptoms of a person who is experiencing the backlashes of heroine or cigarette

withdrawal. This includes, but is not restricted to, “Irritability, depression and

restlessness, thinking about the Internet when offline, or the need to stay online for

progressively longer periods to be satisfied” (Bowen). Without proper consolation, a

person’s Internet addiction can only get worse. They more a user tries to avoid the

Internet, the stronger they are beckoned by the sirens of the computer keys that has

obtained their life force and soul with an unrelenting domination of seduction, and the

addict will have no choice but to shoot up with the ecstasy of the Internet, time and time

again. Withdrawal symptoms occur due to dopamine neurotransmitters, which drives the

pursuit of pleasure, to be release into the brain, whenever a pleasure stimuli such as

drugs, sex, food, or the internet, is put in the brain (Phillips). Due to prolong usage of

these ‘pleasure stimuli,’ the brain has been pumped with so much dopamine, that all it

can do is crave more (Phillips). So we give it more. We eat more junk food, ingest more

alcohol, more drugs, or spend more time on the Internet. When we stop giving our brains
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excess dopamine, the body begins to experience withdrawal effects, which include, “Both

physiological and psychological withdrawal symptoms…headaches, stomachaches,

anger, rage, anxiety, depression, etc” (Pennington). Excess dopamine can have harmful

effects on how the body functions, and is the main cause of why the brain gets such a

high off certain things. Too much of one thing is not good. Everything needs to be taken

in moderation, in order to have a happy, healthy, balanced brain.

Just like any other mental disorder, Internet addiction has been classified as a

mental disorder. It has become such a serious problem, that it is recommended that it is

added the newest version of the DSM, the US handbook of recognized psychiatric

disorders. “The condition is characterized by excessive use of the Internet, anger or

depression if computer access is lot, poor achievement and social isolation” (Internet).

For people who have developed into Internet addicts, help is available. There are

websites that offer tests to see if you are an Internet addict and they offer advice and

provide the next steps to begin to get healthy. Some of the recommended methods are to

get professional help through a counselor or attending anonymous groups and following a

twelve-step program. In an article, which talks about recovering from Internet addiction

states that, “12-step programs conventionally wean the addicted from the substance and

replace the activity with other activities and modes of thinking…it’s almost

inconceivable in this digital age for most people to avoid using a computer—as well as

the Internet—for work-related and personal matters” (Pennington). Although the 12-step

program and professional therapy may be helpful in overcoming Internet addiction, it will

not be an easy situation to overcome. It will take hard, work, dedication, and the desire to

get better. The best thing to do is take one day at a time, and to find a more productive
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method to utilize daily activity, and only use the Internet when it is absolutely necessary.

Internet addiction not only damages the abuser, it affects everyone around them. It

envelops their entire life and begins to take over. The Internet is used as an escape from

the real world and as an outlet from issues the user may be facing in the real world. Your

brain begins to get affected by it, and excessive use can have negative consequences on a

properly functioning brain. It is not easy recovering from any type of addiction, but it is

important to know that help is available, through websites, counseling, support groups,

and also from the people in your life who care about you and want to see you get better.

Internet addiction is a growing problem and will get progressively worse as time moves

on, but it is important to remember, you only get one life, one chance, make the right

decisions and get some help.

Works Cited
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Block, Jerald J. “Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction.” American Journal of

Psychiatry 165.3 (2008): 306-307. Web. 31 Oct. 2010.

<http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/‌cgi/‌content/‌full/‌165/‌3/‌306>.

Bowen, Charles. “Is Internet Addiction Virtual, or Reality? - Caught in the

Web-.” Star-Ledger [Newark] 9 Feb. 1998, Final ed., Tech sec.: 55.

Newsbank America’s Newspapers. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

<http://infoweb.newsbank.com/‌iw-search/‌we/‌InfoWeb?

p_product=NewsBank&p_theme=aggregated5&p_action=doc&p_docid

=0EAEAC1F19F67717&p_docnum=4&p_queryname=3>.

Fleming, Nic. “Too Much Screen Time is Bad for Active Kids Too.”

NewScientist 11 Oct. 2010: n. pag. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

<http://www.newscientist.com/‌article/‌dn19560-too-much-screen-time-

is-bad-for-active-kids-too.html>.

Frazier, Eric. “Women Bribes Daughter to Stay Off Facebook, But It’s Not

Easy.” Charlotte Observer 13 Oct. 2010: n. pag. SIRS Issues

Researcher. Web. 25 Oct. 2010. <http://sks.sirs.com/‌cgi-bin/‌hst-article-

display?id=SNJ0252-0-

393&artno=0000308242&type=ART&shfilter=U&key=Internet

%20addiction&title=Woman%20Bribes%20Daughter%20to%20Stay

%20Off%20Facebook%2C%20But%20It%27s%20Not

%20Easy&res=Y&ren=N&gov=N&lnk=N&ic=N>.

“Internet Addiction Is a Psychiatric Disorder.” NewScientist 2 Apr. 2008: n.

pag. Web. 29 Oct. 2010.


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<http://www.newscientist.com/‌article/‌mg19726495.400-internet-

addiction-is-a-psychiatric-disorder.html>.

Pennington, Dawn A. “Breaking Free.” Counseling Today Dec. 2002: 8-10.

SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 26 Oct. 2010. <http://sks.sirs.com/‌cgi-

bin/‌hst-article-display?id=SNJ0252-0-

393&artno=0000163391&type=ART&shfilter=U&key=Internet

%20addiction%20withdrawal&title=Breaking

%20Free&res=Y&ren=N&gov=N&lnk=N&ic=N>.

Phillips, Helen. “Hooked: Why Your Brain Is Primed for Addiction.”

NewScientist 26 Aug. 2006: n. pag. Web. 26 Oct. 2010.

<http://www.newscientist.com/‌article/‌mg19125661.200-hooked-why-

your-brain-is-primed-for-addiction.html?full=true>.