Net addiction linked to depression

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Hyderabad: If you surf the Web or play online games for more than 38 hours a week, then you are addicted, say mental health experts who claim that this leads to depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.Experts add that most users are not aware that they are getting addicted to the Internet, which leaches away their “real emotional expressions”.Psychiatrists identify  over indulgence in social networking, pornography, chat, messaging and video games as traits of Internet Addiction Syndrome.Most users are not aware that they are addicted.Actions like forcefully taking away gadgets or damage to the gadgets leaves the addicts fuming and angry.Dr Minhaj Nasriabadi, psychiatrist at Apollo Hospitals, explained: “The most vulnerable are children who have easy access to smartphones, iPads and computers. It is very important that parents maintain timings, otherwise the increase in the number of hours spent online is often swift and unaccounted for. Children lose out tremendously on ‘real inter-personal relationships’ as their exposure becomes limited. They then look at the virtual world as the best medium of expression.”Psychiatrists state that 25 per cent of the total Indian population is vulnerable to this problem and children are in great need of counselling for the right use of gadgets.Dr P.K.N. Choudhary of Chetana Psychiatric Hospital said, “Parents shun their responsibilities by giving gadgets without realising the pr-oblems they cause. Low self-esteem, inability to communicate and maintaining eye contact are the initial problems. Often these children are helpless without the gadgets and are not able to concentrate on studies.”The easiest way to spot the problem is when a person is constantly updating their social networking accounts.“New status updates or comments on others’ updates are more important than any other aspect of daily life for the addicts,” said counsellor Namita Yadav who deals with Internet addi-ction among school kids.Yadav explained, “Parents wake up when there is a slip in academic performance. Most of the times, they completely ban all activities leaving the child depressed.”The de-addiction has to be scientifically handled and the time on the Web has to be slowly reduced. Confinement is requi-red in severe cases, say   psychiatrists. 

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