“Behavioral addictions such as gambling, overeating, television compulsion, and internet addiction are similar to drug addiction except that the individual is not addicted to a substance, but he/she is addicted to the behavior or the feeling experienced by acting out the behavior.”
Behavioral science experts believe that all entities capable of stimulating a person can be addictive; and whenever a habit changes into an obligation, it can be considered as an addiction.
Researchers also believe that there are a number of similarities as well as some differences between drug addiction and behavioral addiction diagnostic symptoms.
The idea that true addictions can exist even in the absence of psychotropic drugs (behavioral addictions) was popularized by Peele. According to Peele, addicted individuals are dependent on a particular set of experiences, of which the reactions to a specific chemical substance is only one example.
Prevention & Early Education is the Solution
Similar to substance abuse prevention, programs aimed at addicted individuals and specialized training can educate adolescents about the warning signs of online addiction, in order to assist the early detection of this disorder. For prevention of behavioral addiction (such as internet addiction) authorities, cultural institutions and parents should monitor the use of internet and teach to the adolescent and children, the useful and appropriate methods of internet use.
Similar to substance abuse prevention programs aimed at addicted persons, specialized training can educate adolescents about the warning signs of online addiction in order to assist early detection.
Parents should inform their children about the negative consequences of overuse of the Internet and its moral deviations, in order to prevent addiction.
Parents should monitor their children while using internet and teach them the useful and appropriate methods of internet use. This helps adolescents self-monitor their online use without abusing it.
Behavior science professionals might help adolescents understand the factors underlying their online habits and reintegrate former activities into their lifestyles and aid to prevent suspected cases of online abuse.
It is important to know that prevention programs for online abuse can reduce the occurrence of future incidents and decrease risk of internet addiction.
One of the important ways to prevent internet addiction, is to treat risk factors such as loneliness, stress, depression and anxiety, which may trigger the addiction to the internet and should be treated. Mental health professionals should encourage individuals who overuse the internet, to seek treatment when problems emerge, and help them identify ways they may be using the internet to escape from real life.
Authorities and cultural institutions have a duty of providing healthy and proper usage of the internet to individuals, especially adolescents who are most vulnerable, via mass media education and training. Therefore, the most important step in this field is education and information
We should realize, however, that filtering is necessary and can limit the abuse of internet (using pornographic sites, etc) but it is temporary. In the current situation, the government must invest in immunization, strengthening of religious beliefs and improving the sprit. It seems that in such ways the correct usage of the internet in the community will be naturalized.
Much research must be done to show that educational training programs on internet addiction have proven effective in preventing new cases and improving the satisfaction and cohesion with internet using.
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