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Pulling the plug on internet addiction

01:32pm, 31/12/13

world wide webDo you have to be on-line all the time? How would you feel if the internet and all the items you cherish – smart phones, tablets and computers were to instantly vanish? Could you cope without these modern accoutrements to life as we live it today? Is there an element of addiction here? Yes indeed! Now that internet addiction has been classified as a mental illness comes the good old adage, “where there is an ill there will be a pill”. So, what is the treatment for people who are so mentally dependent on technology – offline retreats where you can detox by being exposed to nature and learn to live without your mobile phone?

Unlike with addiction to drugs and alcohol, abstaining entirely from technology may not be the most appropriate solution in this day and age. Quick and affordable internet access has provided huge benefits for the masses, including: the ability to communicate with people from all over the globe, boundless resources of information at the click of a mouse and the ability to conduct business transactions with ease (to name a few)! However, one must discern between healthy and unhealthy internet usage, and in a world where the internet is such an integral part of our lives, the boundaries are often-times blurred!

Symptoms of internet addiction

- Surfing the internet for extended periods of time while neglecting your personal relationships and/or the duties of your job
- Compulsive viewing of internet pornography
- Regular online gambling – especially when your career, personal finances and relationships are negatively impacted
- Purchasing things online when you can’t afford them
- Excessive online gaming
- Spending more time communicating with online friends than your real friends and family
- Physical symptoms such as eye strain or lack of sleep due to excessive time spent online
- Switching on the internet to avoid dealing with your problems in real life

These are just some of the most common symptoms; internet addiction can be categorised as any situation where your internet usage is having a negative impact on your career, physical/mental health, personal relationships or finances.

Beware internet overuse

Signing off

Taking a break from the internet doesn’t mean you have to become a luddite and join an Amish settlement. Whether you decide to go on a weekend retreat to reconnect with nature or just decide to unplug yourself from the web for a predetermined period of time to focus on work at home, taking a break from the internet can be a very powerful tool for providing insights into your unproductive behaviour patterns. It’s only once we have some distance from the situation and we’re on the outside looking in that we are truly able to come to an objective conclusion regarding our behaviour patterns and the way they negatively affect our lives.

Alternatively, or perhaps in conjunction with voluntarily taking a break from the internet, hypnosis can be used to remove the cataracts (as it were) from our perception and make us realise on an intuitive level the damage resulting from compulsive internet usage. It’s easy to make a list of pros and cons and logically know that our internet habits are detrimental to our lives, yet we find ourselves unable to do anything to rectify the problem. Fortunately, hypnosis works on a subconscious level – the place where our outward behaviour originates from. So, instead of just mitigating the symptoms by intervention and force of will, hypnosis tackles the underlying causes of internet addiction, preventing them from reoccurring again.

(Photos by elessar_x and mulligand)

© 2012 Don Ely, all rights reserved . last update: 23/11/17