If you live with someone (or you are that someone) that cannot leave your computer for any reason, you might not be surprised that “internet addiction” is real. Addiction to the internet is classified as an impulsive-control problem. Because of the many ways we use the internet, addiction has been broken down into subcategories:
- Cybersex – Addiction to pornography – viewing, trading, and downloading online pornography. Cyber-sex addiction can also be present when an individual becomes involved with adult fantasy and spends time in adult chat rooms where role-playing games may take place.
- Cyberspace Relationship Addictions – People who are addicted to chatting rooms, IM, MySpace, FaceBook, etc. Online ‘friends’ quickly replace ‘real’ friends as the addiction grows. As the Cyber addict builds upon online relationships, they often do so at the expense of family and friend interactions. Isolation, such as this, is found in virtually every form of addiction. This behavior can result in lost friendships and may even lead to divorce.
- Excessive Web-Surfing – People who suffer from OCD (Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder) are especially prone to excessive web-surfing. Compulsive behavior includes continually searching for new data, researching ‘everything’, and spending great amounts of time organizing this new information. With accessibility to the internet in most workplaces, this compulsion can have an immediate impact on one’s job and eventually upon their very livelihood.
- Internet Gambling & Spending – Instant access to ‘virtual’ casinos and other gambling websites is quickly adding to the number of gambling addicts. In addition, many are addicted to ‘spending’ at any number of millions of sites, including bidding for items on EBay. Excessive gambling losses or overspending can lead to financial problems, loss of jobs, and family relationships.
- “Playing” Online Games – Games that are played with others online (from anywhere on the planet) such as the ‘World of Warcraft’, ‘Ski-Free’, and ‘Brawl’ have reached outstanding heights in popularity and in addiction. While once confined to the under-25 age group, games like these (and many others) are being played online by people of all ages. Isolation, the decline in school/work performance, loss of relationships and jobs can be the effects of online gaming addiction.
Indications You May Be an Internet-Addict:
- Are you preoccupied with the web; continually mull over past activity or are impatient for the next online session?
- Are you using the internet with increased frequency to achieve a feeling of satisfaction?
- Even when setting a time-limit, do you often stay online longer than intended?
- When you attempt to curtail (or slow) down internet use, do you feel sad, irritable or otherwise moody?
- Have you tried, repeatedly to manage or eliminate your use of the internet?
- Do you lie to important people in your life about the amount of time or money you spend?
- When experiencing uncomfortable feelings (anger, depression, anxiety, etc.), do you sign on the internet to “numb out” and escape those feelings?
If you have answered these questions with complete honesty and have answered “yes” to more than one or two, you may be an internet addict or on your way to addiction. Addiction is addiction: Whatever your ‘drug’ of choice, the primary reason that addicts use is to escape unpleasant feelings. As the addiction increases, so do the risks for the user. As you spend more time ignoring friends and family (isolating) or spending the rent money, you are risking the loss of the most important things in your life. In case if you are addicted to drugs kindly receive treatment for heroin addictions or any other substances you are dependent on.
Did You Know?
- The most common forms of internet addiction are Cybersex, online affairs, and online gaming.
- More than 70% of office workers abuse the internet during work hours. When workers spend company time reading personal emails, shopping, gambling, or visiting networking sites, it is costing the company.
- People prone to depression, anxiety, and social phobias are more inclined to become addicted to the internet.
- Internet sexual predators are 2X more likely to be internet addicts
The highly-regarded Stanford University School of Medicine recently released results of a study which revealed: 1 out of 8 Americans is addicted to internet use; 14% of those surveyed found it extremely difficult to stay away from the internet for more than a couple of days; approximately 6% said that excessive internet use had affected their relationships, while slightly over 8% admittedly used the internet to escape from reality.Twelve-step Programs have proven very helpful to many addicts seeking recovery. While there is (currently) no such program for “internet addicts”, there are 12-step groups for those who shop, gamble, spend and act out sexually. Anyone who wants help can find it. If you are not sure where to look, start by talking to a therapist who specializes in addictions. You may find support groups and rehabilitation center in California or in your local area which can also be of great help.