Medical professionals have seen a rise in treatment for anxiety disorders, particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). At the same time, the number of people who experience depression and turn to pain killers is also on the rise. This correlation may not be coincidental – perhaps the rise of OCD related disorders has caused many to spiral into depression and turn to pain killers as a form of self medication. Still, there may be another, less obvious correlation relating to the alarming rate of cases of OCD and depression – a relatively new term known as Internet Addiction Disorder.
The Spike of Internet Use
Internet use has spiked dramatically over recent years. This amazing technology provides for instant communication between people from different corners of the globe, linking everyone together in real time. There is no more waiting for the 5 o’clock news to catch up on breaking stories. Simply take out a smartphone or tablet to instantly connect.
A New Era of Mental Health Issues
Even though we can view the Internet as positive, too much of a good thing can cause adverse effects. In fact, our obsession with the Internet has spawned a new era of mental health concerns identified by not only Internet Addiction Disorder but also several names including “Net Anxiety”, “iPhone Addiction” and “Facebook Depression”.
Atrophy of the Brain
Examine the brain of a person addicted to drugs or alcohol and you will see signs of atrophy. According to recent research, the brains of Internet-addicted persons look similar to those of persons suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Many articles have been released explaining how the brains of persons with Internet Addiction Disorder show the same signs of atrophy.
A Technology Obsessed World
Although few of us may be actually “addicted” to the Internet, it helps to at least monitor just how long we spend on Internet-related activities. Between browsing status updates on Facebook, checking emails on smartphones and playing Internet games in the on the computer or Xbox Live, chances are many of us would be surprised to learn just how many hours we spend online. Shockingly, recent studies have shown that teenagers process 3,700 texts a month!
Social Media Engagement and the Brain
Now, let’s delve deeper into the OCD and related mental health issues associated with Internet Addiction Disorder.
The actual time we spend online, especially on social media sites, can be more damaging than you might think. Miniature communication platforms, social media sites help us broadcast to thousands of people. According to research, social media communication can lead to increases in dopamine levels in the brain. The culprit – “expectation of response”.
If you have ever used a social media site such as Facebook (and most of us have), then you know how great it feels when seven of your friends either “like” or comment on your status update. The “expectation of response” theory makes perfect sense, when you think about it. Social interaction and approval feels good and in turn triggers the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain – but the story doesn’t end here.
By the same token, social media sites can also produce an intense fear of ridicule. Imagine a status update that turns into a widespread mockery overnight and you can easily see how vulnerable we all are to the downside of Internet Addiction Disorder.
Internet Addiction Disorder Becomes Official
The term Internet Addiction Disorder will be added to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders next year. Medical professionals are also growing more concerned with the psychological effects of Internet addiction, including:
- Inability to leave a smartphone alone while in bed
- Depression caused by not getting feedback while engaging in social media
- Feeling forced to be creative constantly online
- Perceptions of a virtual reality due to isolating from family members and the real world
It is important for people suffering from OCD Internet Addiction Disorder to find relief from this rising concern. As medical professionals further explore the possible links between mental health risks and obsessive technology use, the closer we can get to preventing the damaging effects of the major health concern.
Posts related to Internet Addiction Disorder | Technology Spawns a New OCD Threat
The explosion of social media has spawned an era of Internet obsession among professionals and people of all walks of life. If you equate success …
The summer months are vast approaching and that can only mean one thing – time to take out the sunglasses, bathing suits, sunscreen and flip-flops, …
The link between anxiety disorders and cannabis has long been debated. According to new research published in the journal, Addiction, teenagers who smoke cannabis weekly …
Approximately two-thirds of the population experiences some level of nomophobia – and it is among the biggest phobias in the world. On average, we check …