Name: Kym Tucker
From: Visalia, CA
The World Wide Web of Addiction
Arizona State University
The World Wide Web of Addiction
When it comes to addiction there are many forms, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, gambling, stealing, video games, food and more. Addiction is a physiological or psychological need for a habit forming behavior or activity. Regardless of what a person’s addiction is there are usually multiple reasons for why they became addicted in the first place. Mental health issues, past trauma, experiences and genetics can all play a role. None of these categories are new, so what is causing an addiction crisis and why has it grown significantly in the last two decades? The internet.
With apps such as weedmaps, marijuana can be delivered right to someone’s doorstep. You can refill a prescription online and have someone else go pick it up. Postmates can go pick up an alcohol order from a store and deliver to a person of the legal drinking age for a small fee. Gambling, video games, porn, all in the palm of people’s hand. Not only does the internet allow people to have access to more, it also gives people a sense of instant gratification. Although instant gratification can feel good, it can also be daunting. People get addicted to the popularity and the good feeling they get from reading people’s comments, which when mixed with mental health issues can lead to a depressing and insecure state of mind. Being in that state of mind can lead to addictions such as alcohol, drugs, sex and food addicitons.
Personally, it is not the access to the internet that I feel is causing the crisis, it’s the social aspect of it. In the times of social media people are feeling the pressure of comparison and judgment on a much higher level than people were twenty years ago. The pressure of not being liked, cool, trending or having thousands of followers has caused self esteem and mental health issues to reach new lows. Mental health issues and addiction often go hand in hand with one another. Twenty years ago there weren’t multiple forms of social media to keep up with, there were no alcohol and drug delivery companies, video gamers were not making money just to let people watch them play, you rarely could order food online and definitely not as fast. The internet has made society move at a faster pace and for some people that is a lot to process mentally and can lead to bigger problems.
With the need to either keep up with the popular or run away from it, addiction has a way of creeping in. Some might start drinking more excessively or start doing drugs to fit in, or be a good time around a group of people. Which might seem fun and harmless in the beginning but there are extreme consequences that can happen. More deaths, illnesses and disabilities are directly linked to drug and alcohol abuse than any other preventable health condition. Not all people have addictions that allow them to be out in a social environment, some addictions are caused by the fear of being in social environments, such as the internet, gambling and video game addictions. Internet addiction is becoming a crisis of its own. I recently read information from therecoveryvillage.com about internet addiction. The site gave some statistics related to mental health and internet addiction. People addicted to the internet have co-occurring issues such as ADHD, OCD, and social anxiety. The shocking part was that the site stated that people addicted to video games were especially likely to have mental health disorders such as depression, antisocial disorder, social phobia and OTHER ADDICTIONS. The other addictions going along with the addiction to the internet and games is exactly my thought process on the effect the internet has when it comes to the addiction crisis.
A support system is a vital tool. People have to constantly worry about others talking about their addiction and mental health problems because society loves to talk about others. As a society we have to get to the point where we do not speak about people to other people. If people who are dealing with addiction and the other issues that coincide feel that they have people they can open up to and express their feelings and fears it can go a long way in aiding their recovery process. It is truly in the hands of society to become better, more trustworthy and non judgmental people in order to help those in need of support. On an individual level I work really hard when it comes to my character and how I treat others but I do feel I could be better informed on ways to help addicts. I’ve done research and written papers on drug and alcohol addiction but admitally, I am not as knowledgeable when it comes to gambling, sex and video game addiction. Being aware they exist is not simply enough, I need to spend some time understanding the effects and the process it takes to overcome these addictions. Although recovery is an individual process it does not and should not be done alone. Feeling alone is what can lead to addiction in the first place, if we know someone struggling with addiction just letting them know they are not alone can help tremendously in aiding their recovery.