Are You or A Loved One Addicted to the Internet?

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Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) Becoming Widespread

Exactly what an “Internet Addiction Disorder” (IAD) entails is still not perfectly clear to experts at this time. But there are some surprising statistics of Internet use throughout the United States and some foreign countries, such as China. There has been research done using exploratory surveys which have some benefits, but are still not an exact way to recognize a new disorder. The following are some statistics of Internet use listed by The Washington Post:

(1) Approximately 6% of individuals surveyed said their relationships suffered from excessive Internet use.

(2) 9% attempted to hide their nonessential Internet use.

(3) Almost 4% said they felt preoccupied when they were offline.

(4) 8% used the Internet as a way to escape from daily problems.

(5) 14% found it hard to not use the Internet for long periods of time.

Signs of Internet Addiction

(1) Staying online for hours without any type of break.

(2) Preferring your computer time over friends and family.

(3) Lying about how much time you spend on your computer.

(4) Hiding the details of what you do online.

(5) Checking e-mail frequently.

(6) Family complaints that you spend too much time online.

(7) You are always thinking of the Internet, even when you are offline.

Many Internet addicts are also addicted to things such as; online gambling, pedophilia, identity theft, cyber harassment, stalking, and bullying.

Here are eight questions to help determine if you have an IAD. If you answer yes to five or more, you may have a problem.

(1) Do you feel preoccupied with your online activity and look forward to your next Internet session?

(2) Do you feel the need for longer amounts of time online to obtain satisfaction?

(3) Have you made several unsuccessful attempts to try and control, cut back, or stop using the Internet?

(4) Do you have mood changes, such as restlessness, depression, and irritability when you attempt to stop your Internet use?

(5) Do you stay online longer than you intended?

(6) Have you risked the loss of a relationship, job, educational, or career opportunity because of the Internet?

(7) Have you lied to others to hide the truth of your time and involvement with the Internet?

(8) Do you use the Internet as an escape from feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness, or depression?

There is help available if you think you have a problem.

Most treatment involves therapy, which includes getting to the root of the problem. It depends on what you do when you are online. Do you gamble, shop, chat, and play games? Whatever it is, the problem may not be to control Internet use, but to learn socialization skills or what your addictions are. Other therapy relies on motivation. Find out what motivates you to spend less time online. The key is moderation, not complete abstinence. There are Internet addiction clinics that have been formed around the world to help. There are also web discussion boards, such as Internet Addicts Anonymous, where people can discuss their addiction without having to identify themselves.

So if you think you or a family member may have an Internet addiction, please get the help you need to rectify this problem. Then you can start to enjoy all the aspects that the Internet offers.