Internet addiction can be identified by eight key symptoms. Examine this list of symptom descriptions. If your Internet usage exhibits five or more symptoms, you should think about talking to a mental health professional about your Internet use.
1. Preoccupation: You think constantly about previous online activity or eagerly anticipate your next online session. Some people crave surfing time just like an alcoholic craves a drink.
2. Increasing usage: You require increasing amounts of time online to achieve satisfaction. Parent who’s spending 40 hours a week in a chat room probably neglect basic responsibilities such as doing laundry or preparing food for the kids.
3. Inability to stop: You fail to reduce your Internet use, even after several attempts. Some people can’t refrain from visiting chat rooms while at work, even though they know their bosses monitor their Internet usage.
4. Withdrawal symptoms: You feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when you attempt to stop or reduce Internet use. Some people feel so bad in jobs where they don’t have Internet access that they make excuses to go home and surf the Internet.
5. Losing one’s sense of time: Everyone lets time slide by from time to time while on the Internet. It becomes a problem if it happens regularly when you’re online and if you are also experience some of the other symptoms on this list.
6. Dangerous behaviors: You endanger a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity in order to use Internet. One man chose to divorce his wife of 22 years for a woman he had corresponded with on the Internet for only a few months.
7. Lying: You lie to family members, a therapist, or others to hide the amount of your involvement with the Internet. Someone who’s being treated for depression might not inform the therapist about his Internet use.
8. Escape from dealing with reality: You use the Internet to avoid confronting problems, or to allay depression or feelings of helplessness. One CEO frequently downloaded pornography to relieve stress at work.