Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops and Desktops. Is It Even a Surprise That Some Believe in Internet Addiction?

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In the face of what most people would call “real addictions” such as alcoholism, drug addiction and other addictions like smoking, it may seem weird or even absurd to suggest that someone can become addicted to their computers and the internet. This type of addiction is a reality to many people, and like other addicts these internet addicts may not even know they have any sort of problem until it’s formally mentioned and addressed by someone they know and trust, but even then it still may be denied and casually dismissed. Some have even given internet addiction a name that certainly sounds very clinical. It’s known as Internet Addiction Disorder or IAD for short. The problem with the idea of being an internet addict is that the internet provides so many different outlets for people to abuse or become fascinated with and addicted to. For some it’s a sexual thing. They spend a lot of time watching pornography or sending sexual messages to others, and in some cases spend a fair amount of time looking to meet up with women and men they find on forums and chat sites. Others actively seek platonic relationships with people they find on social media sites and on message forums, to the point where the addict begins to think they have more in common with people they’ve never actually met, versus the people they know and love in the “real world”. Another worrying behavior is that of “Net Compulsions” which entails a variety of “symptoms” one could say. Such as: Compulsive web surfing, gambling, online stock trading, as well as a need to spend hours and lots of money on sites like eBay which could result in financial and employment difficulties in one’s real life.

Each person’s Internet use is different. You might need to use the Internet extensively for your work, for example, or you might rely heavily on social networking sites to keep in touch with faraway family and friends. Spending a lot of time online only becomes a problem when it absorbs too much of your time, causing you to neglect your relationships, your work, school, or other important things in your life. If you keep repeating compulsive Internet behavior despite the negative consequences in your offline life, then it’s time to strike a new balance.

Like with any “legitimate” addiction, many turn to the internet for an escape. A place where they need not worry about those pesky real life issues like family, friends, relationships, awkwardness, high school pressure, money and work. The internet provides a similar “high” to those who use prescription medications, in some cases. For instance the drugs Valium and Ativan for instance offer a relaxing effect when a person is dealing with an immense amount of stress and anxiety. The addiction to the internet and computer can have a very soothing and calming effect on someone dealing with those kinds of emotional and anxious situations.

If you believe someone you know may be succumbing to an internet addiction, of any variety, it is important to know the warning signs, the risk factors and even the “symptoms” of an internet or computer addiction. With smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops in every household, office and in the case of a smart-phone, hand, it’s important for parents to monitor their kids behavior to identify their risk of obsession and addiction. The same goes for a friend you may know or a family member who seems detached and often unresponsive and lacking motivation or behaving in such a way that is different than normal.

Here are some risk factors, symptoms and signs of internet and computer addiction:

  • You suffer from anxiety. You may use the Internet to distract yourself from your worries and fears. An anxiety disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder may also contribute to excessive email checking and compulsive Internet use.
  • You are depressed. The Internet can be an escape from feelings of depression, but too much time online can make things worse. Internet addiction further contributes to stress, isolation and loneliness.
  • You have any other addictions. Many Internet addicts suffer from other addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex.
  • You lack social support. Internet addicts often use social networking sites, instant messaging, or online gaming as a safe way of establishing new relationships and more confidently relating to others.
  • You’re an unhappy teenager. You might be wondering where you fit in and the Internet could feel more comfortable than real-life friends.
  • You are less mobile or socially active than you once were. For example, you may be coping with a new disability that limits your ability to drive. Or you may be parenting very young children, which can make it hard to leave the house or connect with old friends.
  • You are stressed. While some people use the Internet to relieve stress, it can have a counterproductive effect. The longer you spend online, the higher your stress levels will be.
  • Losing track of time online. Do you frequently find yourself on the Internet longer than you intended? Does a few minutes turn in to a few hours? Do you get irritated or cranky if your online time is interrupted?
  • Having trouble completing tasks at work or home. Do you find laundry piling up and little food in the house for dinner because you’ve been busy online? Perhaps you find yourself working late more often because you can’t complete your work on time—then staying even longer when everyone else has gone home so you can use the Internet freely.
  • Isolation from family and friends. Is your social life suffering because of all the time you spend online? Are you neglecting your family and friends? Do you feel like no one in your “real” life—even your spouse—understands you like your online friends?
  • Feeling guilty or defensive about your Internet use. Are you sick of your spouse nagging you to get off the computer or put your smartphone down and spend time together? Do you hide your Internet use or lie to your boss and family about the amount of time you spend on the computer or mobile devices and what you do while you’re online?
  • Feeling a sense of euphoria while involved in Internet activities. Do you use the Internet as an outlet when stressed, sad, or for sexual gratification or excitement? Have you tried to limit your Internet time but failed?

Physical Signs:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (pain and numbness in hands and wrists)
  • Dry eyes or strained vision
  • Back aches and neck aches; severe headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Pronounced weight gain or weight loss



Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops and Desktops. Is It Even a Surprise That Some Believe in Internet Addiction?