Unplug Yourself: A Brief Acknowledgement of the Abstract “Internet Addiction”
A Brief Acknowledgement of the Abstract “Internet Addiction”
The United States currently has its hands full battling a contagious virus; it is not the novel coronavirus nor is it the blatant white supremacy developed from centuries of systemic racism and oppression that has been accentuated. This virus, though is not comparable to the violence and deaths upon hundreds and thousands, is just as cold, elusive, and intoxicating.
The increase in broadband expansion has been deemed as a positive as rural areas of the globe now have the necessary resources to access high-speed internet with near-complete ease. Yet, this steady shift to a technology-driven future has gathered its fair share of critiques. Months before the publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in 2013, debates evolved regarding an avant-garde “internet addiction.”
Typical addictive disorders, as classified by the DSM-5, tend to be characterized by substance abuse through the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other hallucinogenic drugs. However, internet users can experience the same reinforcing rewards as their drug-using counterparts; the sense of belonging on the internet acts as the primary mood enhancer. Additionally, the DSM-5 notes that a sudden halt in internet use may produce sudden sadness, anxiety, or irritability with periods of sporadic urges (Parekh 2018).
Like the use and addiction of many drugs, the scientific understanding of internet addiction is constantly changing. One of the more successful remedies aimed to combat internet addiction is the restart Program, a “recovery program which integrates technology detoxification” for 45-90 days (Cash et al 2012). The results are still ongoing, but “there is evidence that the program is responsible for most of the improvements demonstrated” (Cash et al 2012). The hope is to expand the resources to the general public.
The reality is, because we live in such an interconnected global network, we have adapted to become dependent on the opinions of others, forcing us facade ourselves online rather than investing in bettering ourselves in person. The best remedy to combat this widespread addiction is to “unplug” and disassociate from our internet personas, gradually, and with enough, may we revert to a life no longer dictated by the internet.
Cash, H. et al. (2012). Internet Addiction: A Brief Summary of Research and Practice. Curr Psychiatry Rev., 8(4), 292-298.
Parekh, R. (2018, July). Internet Gaming. American Psychiatric Association.