Every day, we see people glued to their cellphones, tablets and computers to the extent that they aren’t even aware of what’s going on in their surroundings. This trend has become so widespread that professionals have called it Internet addiction. Today, researchers see a continued increase in co-occurring digital addiction when treating other mental health disorders.
Technology addiction is a condition that frequently co-occurs with substance abuse. One of the most interesting findings thus far is that young people who are addicted to the Internet are also more likely to be using alcohol and drugs. As their digital addiction worsens, so does the chances of them becoming substance addicts. When substance abuse and Internet addiction co-occur, both of them must be treated simultaneously for the best outcomes.
Substance Use Disorder and Technology Addiction
Substance abuse disorder and Internet addiction can make people neglect their surroundings and become less mindful of their lives. According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, it has been proven that both addictions seem to fuel each other. When one addiction worsens, the other follows suit. For this reason, both addictions should be addressed and treated to prevent the chances of a relapse.
Similarities Between Technology Addiction and Substance Abuse
The reward portion of the brain reacts the same way to compulsive Internet use as it does to drugs. Studies on how the brain changes when a person uses the Internet mirror the effects that the brain goes through when a person uses drugs. Just like alcohol and drug addiction, technological addiction begins to become more attractive to the user than all other activities. In the end, one may stop engaging in other activities altogether to get a chance to go online.
The withdrawal symptoms of Internet use are similar to the withdrawal effects of drugs. Internet addicts may experience depression, mood swings and anxiety when they stop using the Internet. They also have a strong urge to get hold of a digital device and go online. Some Internet addicts have even stated that they find the urge to use the Internet a lot stronger than the need to use drugs.
Statistics on Substance Abuse and Internet Addiction
The rapid increase in technology users is alarming. Twenty years ago, less than 0.4% of the entire population of the world was using the Internet. Now, 55% of the world’s population is hooked to the Internet.
As more people use the Internet, the rate of interest also increases. In 2000, people only spent nine hours a week on the Internet, with three of those hours at home. Today, the average person spends nearly 24 hours a week online, with 17 of those at home. These statistics show the increasing problem of digital addiction.
Treating Co-Occurring Internet Addiction and Substance Abuse
It’s essential to treat both substance addiction and Internet addiction together because both conditions occur together and fuel each other. By addressing both conditions simultaneously, individuals have a better chance of long-term recovery.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a substance use disorder and technology addiction, call our qualified therapists at 877-352-9566, or reach out to us on our contact page to get the help you need.