Internet addiction disorder can take many forms but it is an individualized situation which each person must deal with on a personal basis. Internet addiction can have serious consequences both long and short term for individuals who struggle. Some of the signs of internet addiction will be reviewed along with ways to seek help if this is happening to a loved one.
The compulsive use of the internet is the main feature of internet addiction disorder. Experts believe the internet causes problems in the real life of an internet addict, whether personal or professional. All subtypes of internet addiction share similar components. Signs that someone may be addicted to being online can be obvious or very hidden from family and friends. The important thing is to notice the signs and seek help if a loved one is struggling.
Signs of Addiction
Some of the following are some signs to look for when searching for issues that may arise with internet addiction:
- Excessive use of internet or staying online longer than intended. This may also include losing track of time or neglecting needs of self or others
- Withdrawal accompanied by anger, tension or depression when computers are inaccessible
- Need for better computer equipment, software or other materials to spend hours online to achieve the same effect
- Negative consequences of use, including arguments, lying, poor achievement, social isolation and fatigue
Screening for internet addiction is important in determining whether a problem exists. Seven questions to ask oneself can include the following. If the answer is ‘yes’ to three of the questions or more, it might be time to consider seeking help. Even one ‘yes’ can show signs of a problem starting with internet addiction:
- Does the person spend more and more time online only to get the same level of satisfaction?
- Does the person experience withdrawal (depression, agitation or mood swings) when not online?
- Do internet sessions last longer than usual?
- Does a person spend a great deal of time on other net-related activities like buying related books, talking about the net and trying new software?
- Despite adverse effects (family issues, failure to complete work), does a person continue internet use?
- Have attempts to cut down use been met with failure?
- Does the person give up important social or other activities to spend time online?
Spending time online is one way people engage and interact with one another but becomes detrimental when a person is allowed to spend more time online than is desirable. While boundaries are helpful, addiction is harder to deal with without the proper support and perhaps treatment necessary to combat the biochemical and physical reactions that take hold in addiction.