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Higher Risk of Internet Addiction for the Highly Successful

Author: Justin Mckibben

In the past decade the concept of Internet addiction has grown in acceptance as a legitimate clinical disorder. Compulsive Internet use can interfere with daily life, work, and relationships. When you feel more comfortable with your online, even when it has negative consequences in your life, then you may be facing a more intense addiction to the internet and a higher dependence on technology.

Internet addiction is becoming more recognized and effective treatment is becoming more of a reality as work is done to determine the causes and effects. Recently a study was published that indicates that for those with a higher professionally successful lifestyle may be more likely to develop an internet addiction.

Professional Hazard

This newest study about the elements of internet addiction seems to point to highly successful professionals as the individuals who may run the greatest risk of becoming addicted to the Internet. High-pressure jobs can require hundreds of email communications in a day, and many spend hours after the end of the work day attempting to stay on top of the constant flow of information.

With the convenience of the gadgets we have all familiarized ourselves with, it becomes nearly impossible to avoid. With constant contact through an iPhone, iPad or laptop, the temptation to continue browsing online can be hard to resist, deepening their digital dependence even for the moments they are connected to their work. Even socially they have adapted, much like a lot of others, to rely on their smartphone or other digital platforms to stay entertained and stay connected.

With the business schedule flowing into their every waking moment, and their mingling and socializing most done on a screen, the internet has effectively made these kinds of professionals 24-hour-a-day workers. Then comes the habit of waking up even in the middle of the night and immediately checking emails, Facebook, Instagram, and just about any other form of digital dialog.

In one publication a former web addict shared her five top tips to “maintain a healthy online life.” These include:

  • Scheduling your Internet time
  • Accepting that you can’t answer every email
  • Disabling unnecessary notifications
  • Getting out for a walk
  • Remembering the Internet is not as important as we think

The study has also revealed that people who are successful in their careers that are more likely to be engaging in compulsive internet use are also at an increased risk of other detrimental behaviors such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Isolation

As one might guess, these results came as a shock to the researchers involved in the study. Most would have assumed it would be young people and the unemployed who were most at risk from internet addiction. I know when Myspace was the big social media outlet I had spent a lot of time customizing my profile, picking out the theme music, and looking back there were times it probably got a little out of hand (for anyone who remembers the hacks to customize your mailbox and friend-request control panel).

But personally my social media and internet use only started to spiral out of control when it became a part of my work. I specifically work in social media, and spend all day working with blogs, webpages, and keeping up with trends.

Generation D seems to have a few more executives and 9-5ers than most people would assume. Teens may be the ones who we see the most on their phones, but in reality the addictive and compulsive behavior is typically developed in the working class.

Staying plugged into the news, and trying to stay ahead of hot topics with new insight took my addiction to another level, and my closest friends will probably tell you I haven’t changed a bit. NOT TRUE! I only post a few selfies a week, and I only share the important (or ridiculously funny) meme’s to raise awareness for important issues (like Vine and Snapchat).

While internet addiction may not be as noticeable in a society that thrives on technology and social media, it is a prominent disorder that is growing as the social media does. It is one of many addictions that can be more debilitating than people give it credit until the damage has been done. But as with any addiction, we always want to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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