Sample Psychology Paper on Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)

The Disorder and its History

Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), also referred to as problematic internet use, is compulsive, questionable use of the internet resulting in significant impairment of various life functionalities over an extended period. With the exponential growth of internet users, troublesome use of the internet is a thing that is being debated worldwide. Typically, the history of the disorder can be traced back to the early 1990s when the internet penetrated began (Griffiths et al., 2016). Within a few years, cases of IAD started to appear in the conventional press.

Causes of the Disorder

There is no single cause of internet addiction disorder. However, several factors can play a role in diffusing the condition. For instance, high exposure to technology, and more specifically, the internet may lead to addiction. Additionally, anxiety and depression can lead to internet addiction (Musetti et al., 2016). Lack of emotional support can make people turn to the internet for comfort, hence developing the condition. People suffering from low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, and fear of disapproval may also develop IAD.

Symptoms and Warning Signs for IAD

Internet addiction may be manifested in either emotionally, socially, or physically. However, it is worth perceiving that the specifics may vary from one person to the other.  Emotionally, people suffering from IAD may portray the following signs and symptoms; depression, feelings of guilt, isolation, inability to keep schedules, dishonesty,  avoiding going to work, defensiveness, and a general sense of lack of time (Griffiths et al., 2016). Socially, the disorder can be manifested by weakened or disrupted social lives, such as the inability to maintain personal relationships. Some physical symptoms of internet addictions include back and neck pain, weight gain or loss, headache, insomnia, poor nutrition, and blurred or strained vision. Prominent warning signs for IAD cases include preoccupation with the internet, jeopardized loss of a job, relationship, and career or educational opportunities while on the internet, lying to family members and friends of prolonged internet use, and repeated but unsuccessful efforts to stop or control the use of the internet.

Treatment and Prevention Strategies for the Disorder

The first step towards treating the disorder is a recognition that it exists. Although many people admit that IAD is a problem that needs to be resolved, there is a debate on whether treatment is essential. Some people argue that internet addiction is a condition that can resolve itself with time (Di et al., 2019). However, some professionals opine that medication may be necessary to control it. The basic idea behind this argument is that the disorder is triggered by underlying emotional conditions that are treatable. Therefore, medications for mental and emotional illnesses can play a huge role in treating IAD. Some prevention strategies that can mitigate the risk of developing internet disorders include maintaining a strong social and emotional support, preoccupation with constructive activities, and early detection of warning signs for the disorder.



Anything Interesting about the Disorder

There are some fascinating facts about internet addiction disorder across the world. In Greece, for instance, 8.2% of the population is addicted to the internet (Di et al., 2019). In South Korea, online gaming is treated as a sport! Consequently, internet addiction is considered a national crisis. In China, internet addiction is commonly referred to as ‘electronic heroin’ or ‘electronic Opium.’

Anything New in the Field

Although the relationship between mental health and the use of digital media has been a research topic for over a decade now, excessive use of the internet is yet to be recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) (Musetti et al., 2016). Additionally, the condition is, however, to be recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Theory or Explanation of the Disorder that Makes the Most Sense

The General Strain Theory (GST) makes the most sense when explaining the disorder. According to the theory, strains increase the likelihood of committing undesirable activities such as crime. Such strain is pillared on three main factors; the existence of harmful impulses, failure to achieve a goal, and removal of positive motivations. Strains can lead to problematic use of the internet as a way of trying to ease them.




Di, Z., Gong, X., Shi, J., Ahmed, H. O., & Nandi, A. K. (2019). Internet addiction disorder detection of Chinese college students using several personality questionnaire data and support vector machine. Addictive Behaviors Reports10, 100200.

Griffiths, M. D., Kuss, D. J., Billieux, J., & Pontes, H. M. (2016). The evolution of Internet addiction: A global perspective. Addictive Behaviors53, 193-195.

Musetti, A., Cattivelli, R., Giacobbi, M., Zuglian, P., Ceccarini, M., Capelli, F., … & Castelnuovo, G. (2016). Challenges in internet addiction disorder: is a diagnosis feasible or not?. Frontiers in psychology7, 842.