Do You Have An Internet Addiction?

As of 2006, one billion people worldwide were connected to the Internet, with the highest rates of use in North America: over two-thirds of that billion are people living in the United States and Canada. (Source: Uppers, Downers, All Arounders by Darryl S. Inaba & William E. Cohen.)

The progression of the Internet in terms of ease of use, anonymity, control in the hands of the user, low cost, round-the-clock accessibility, convenience, and availability of pretty much everything imaginable, created exposure to just about anything from the comfort of your own home. The appeal of the Internet is also what has lead many of its users to, what Inaba and Cohen site as, “Internet compulsion disorder” and “Internet addiction disorder.”
The two forms of cyberaddiction are identified by compulsive involvement in chat groups, online game playing, stocks or commodities market watching, online gambling, online sexual relationships and other online activities.

Approximately 6% to 10% of all Internet users display some of these signs of addiction.
Do you, or someone you know, engage in some of these recreational pastimes?How can you tell if there is a problem with Internet usage? Could your online activity be diagnosed as an Internet compulsion disorder or an Internet addiction disorder? Have you considered an intervention for Internet addiction?
A 53-year-old computer addict and self-proclaimed information junkie shares his experience with Internet addiction disorder:
“I tried to combine playing the Net with a home life, so I moved the computer into the family room. My wife said she got to know the back of my head very well, maybe five hours a night. I would be hunched over the computer, occasionally throwing out some miscellaneous fact that I had Googled in between playing solitaire, Minesweeper, or Sudoku.”
If we are following the definition of addiction, which in the world of substance abuse treatment equates to: a progressive disease process characterized by (1) loss of control over use, (2) obsession with use, (3) continued use despite adverse consequences, (4) denial that there is a problem, and (5) a powerful tendency to relapse, then there are ways to easily identify...

The Top 5 Signs You Might Have an Internet Addiction:

1. Loss of Control Over Use
Have you ever lost track of time while doing something online? Have you found yourself needing more and more time online each time you do something you enjoy on the Internet to reach the same level of satisfaction each time you log on?
If minutes turn into hours without you even realizing it, and you have not taken time away from the computer for hours on end, you may have an Internet addiction, and an intervention for an Internet addiction may be necessary.

2. Obsession With Use
Do you think about being online almost all the time?
Do you take every free opportunity at home, work, or school to go online? And when you are online, do you download more and more each time, and post more and more messages during each visit?
Are you connected to the Internet in some form for closer to 40 hours each week than 8 hours, the average for those who do not show signs of Internet compulsion or addiction disorders?
Do you eat in front of your computer monitor?
Does the thought of an intervention for your Internet usage scare you because it may take you away from being online?

3. Continued Use Despite Adverse Consequences
Neglecting responsibilities to be online, like missing school or work, and continuing to spend a large part of your time online, even when relationships with a spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend have clearly slipped, are sure signs of the need for an intervention for Internet compulsion or addiction.
Additionally, experiencing psychological consequences, such as feeling anxious or irritable when you are not able to go online, points to a compulsion or addiction disorder.

4. Denial That There is a Problem
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you can answer yes to several of the questions above, but you do not think you have a problem, you are in denial.
If you are reading this for a loved one, and he or she is denying the problem that you see, look into conducting an intervention for Internet addiction.

5. A Powerful Tendency to Relapse
Have you tried to reduce the amount of time you spend on the Internet, or stopped going online altogether, but you can never quite stay strong? It’s time to seek help.

Author Bio:
Ken Seeley, as seen on A&E's Intervention, is an expert at providing interventions for a variety of addictions including drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, the Internet and more.

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