Addiction pertains to a behavioral issue that is mainly characterized by an urge to consume a particular item or perform a specific activity repeatedly (Pies, 2009). Addiction is different from abuse, which is technically a less serious version of this behavioral problem. The act of repeatedly performing an action or consuming a specific substance is mainly influenced by external and internal factors. Addiction is largely influenced by the physiological and psychological effect that an individual achieves when he performs a specific action or consumes a particular item.
It is also possible for social factors to affect an individual to repeatedly perform a specific action. The Internet is one of the latest networks that links people to the rest of the world by enabling them to communicate and gather information at the fastest and most efficient way to date (Collier, 2009). The accessibility of the Internet in almost every place in the community has resulted in its integration into various settings, including business offices, academic institutions and homes.
Aside from communication and the transfer of data from one computer user to another, the Internet currently serves as the prime source for entertainment to the public. It is now possible to download music, videos and even literature with such ease and precision. Alongside the availability of this helpful technology, there are also a number of negative effects that are associated with Internet use. The human psyche has been influenced by the Internet, which in turn has resulted in an addiction that is similar to the repeated actions involved in drug or alcohol use.
This consequence has affected not only the addicted individual himself, but also his immediate family and co-workers. To date, there is no official term that could be employed to designate this particular addiction to the Internet (Zboralski et al. , 2009). However, it is quite easy to describe the activities of this behavioral issue based on the actions of an individual, including the need to check certain websites continuously and spending an extended period of time in front of the computer.
In addition, Internet addiction could also involve frequent and continuous participation in online games, email, chat or messenger sessions. Controversy regarding the actual designation of Internet addiction is currently under the scrutiny of psychologists and other analysts. According to Pies (2009), the psychological manifestations associated with Internet addiction are similar to the other types of addiction, including that of drug and alcohol dependency. However, the physiological relationship of Internet addiction to the human body still needs to be further examined.
Pies (2009) suggested that there must be an underlying medical condition that pushes an individual to repeatedly use the Internet, yet this still has to be identified. It is still thus premature to call Internet addiction as a disease, with the current insufficient amount of information that has been gathered on these occurrences. In an attempt to determine the extent of Internet addiction in the general society, a number of investigators have attempted to examine the frequency of Internet use in relation to the purpose of its use. In a study conducted by Zboralski et al. 2009) among school-age children, it was observed that 25% of the study population was strongly dependent to the Internet, including primary school children.
Another interesting observation is that children who did not have siblings or children who were experiencing family problems were more likely to be addicted to Internet use. It is also alarming to find out that Internet-dependent children showed a greater susceptibility to enact aggressive behavior, as well as succumb to anxiety and depression. Deprivation of Internet use among addicts also results in withdrawal symptoms, as well as the development of an anxious stance.
There are also cases wherein Internet addicts experience nausea and sweating when they engage in excessive use of the Internet, otherwise called computer binges (Collier, 2009). It is also observed that some Internet addicts undergo hyperarousal during interaction on the Internet. Unfortunately, there is no mention of other physiological responses to these reports, such as changes in the blood pressure or the heart rate of any study participants. It is thus recommended that for the time being, anecdotal, case and clinical reports be compiled for future reference and review.