Over the past decade, internet addiction has become one of the most common behavioral addictions among young adults. There are other types of behavioral addictions in young adults, include exercise, sex, food, and even work addiction.

It’s not a coincidence younger people are more likely than older ones to develop addictions as the adolescent and young adult brain is still in development. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the brain of a person with gaming disorder, for example, reacts to gaming in the same way a person with a substance use disorder reacts to a drug.


Internet Addiction

The early months of the pandemic led to significant increases in internet addiction around the world, which has continued repercussions today. This category breaks down into a number of different internet behaviors that can be addictive:

Gaming disorder (video game addiction), recognized by the World Health Organization as a mental health condition

Smartphone addiction

Social media addiction

Pornography addiction

Cyber-relational addiction—friendships or romantic relationships with people online, via chat rooms, forums, or social networks

Online shopping addiction

Gambling addiction, the only behavioral addiction recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders


For instance social media is the first thing many young people do when they wake up, and the last thing they do at night. Research shows 16- to 24-year-olds spend an average of three hours a day using social media. By some estimates, between 5 and 10 percent of social media users are addicted.


Video Gaming and Gambling Addiction in Young Adults

In 2018, gaming disorder was classified as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Like gaming, gambling is easily accessible online and has the same addictive elements of chance, skill, and intermittent reward. Research shows gambling participation typically increases during adolescence and peaks in young adulthood. This is also the time when the risk of developing problematic gambling behaviors is highest. Video game makers have also added gambling elements to games, like roulette and slot machines. This increases exposure to gambling for young people. Gambling while drinking or using drugs magnifies the potential financial and psychological risk for young adults which boosts the likelihood young adults will gamble while using substances.


(Source: Newport Healthcare www.newporthealthcare.com)