With so many people spending so much time online, it’s hardly surprising that internet addiction is on the rise. But luckily, awareness is rising too, and people are getting help to successfully beat their addictions. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or another person, it’s definitely time to seek help for an internet addiction.
If you are turning down social opportunities to stay at home and go online, you probably have an internet addiction. Something’s not right if you’d rather play online than hang out with friends (or you need some new friends!).
People addicted to the net also tend to withdraw from other activities that they previously enjoyed – sports, music, reading and many other things. If you notice that the internet has become your sole hobby, it’s time to get help.
People with internet addictions are happiest when they are online, feeding their addiction. A heightened sense of euphoria online is associated with an addiction or the high risk of developing one.
If your sleep pattern has changed dramatically, it could be because of an internet addiction. Addicts often stay up late, unable to tear themselves away from the screen, and then struggle to get up the next day.
Internet addicts often pile the weight on rapidly because they give up exercise and snack all day at the computer, while others lose dangerous amounts of weight because their addiction is so strong that they won’t leave the computer to get something to eat.
Staring at a computer screen for long periods of time will have a negative impact on your eyes. If your eyes are feeling strained, tired or dry after time online, you’ve been on for too long and it’s time to cut down.
If you find yourself compulsively researching random topics to avoid working and other activities, and your productivity has declined because of it, you may well have an internet addiction.
Feeling guilty is a sign that you know you’re doing something wrong. People are usually in denial for at least a while about addictions, so if you do feel guilty or ashamed, it’s good in a way – you’re recognizing there’s a problem and it will be easier to fix.
This stems from the previous point about feeling guilty or ashamed. People who are ashamed of something will lie to cover it up, so if you lie to people about how long you spend online, you’re online for too long.
If you find yourself thinking about your next fill of the web while you’re doing other activities, or wishing you could get online, you could be addicted. This is a craving, just like other addicts may get for substances.
If your time online is interfering with work, family responsibilities, school or college, then it’s out of hand. It’s time to ask for help, before things get really out of your control.
People most at risk of internet addictions are those who already suffer from depression, anxiety disorders or other addictions, so be particularly aware if you or anyone close to you is particularly at risk. But with so many treatment options, from counselling up to hospitalization for severe cases, the help is out there. Do you know anyone addicted to the internet?
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