Unlike substance addiction, internet addiction is relatively new. This only means that it’s something that can be hard to recognize. While it is formally termed as “internet addiction disorder”, the truth is it’s not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM manual that most psychiatrists these days employ.
Fortunately, going cold turkey on the internet won’t produce unfavorable and often very serious withdrawal symptoms unlike abruptly quitting the intake of a drug that a person is hooked on — although it can definitely leave a massive hole in the heart, and also make the days seem so much longer.
More often than not, it can be hard to tell whether your affair with the internet is a mere leisure pursuit or the kind in which dependency is involved. So in other words, you may not be able to recognize the fact that the internet has already conquered you, and living a life without it or using it in moderation can appear to be a challenge.
So without further ado, here are some telltale signs that you may already be an internet addict:
You deny that you’re addicted. It’s apparent that you are using the internet more frequently than the rest, and you lie to others about your unhealthy internet usage. Well, it’s not just a lie that you tell others, but also yourself — deceiving yourself is an obvious sign that you are hooked.
Being offline makes you feel incomplete. You are definitely addicted to the internet if you cannot spend a few hours without logging on it. Some people who are hooked on the internet actually suffer from anxiety attacks at the mere thought of them not being able to be online for a while.
Failure to adhere to your own timetable. Once you told yourself at the start of your day that you would spend only a certain amount of time in front of your computer. Were you able to abide by it? No? if such scenario is a recurring matter, there is a huge possibility that you are addicted to the internet.
You spend more time online than being with people. The adage “no man is an island” doesn’t seem to apply to internet addicts as they are aware that anything and everything they want and need can be provided by the web. It’s time to spring into action if you are no longer devoting time to family and friends.
Other priorities are being sacrificed. Just like with any other forms of addiction, being hooked on the internet can leave you neglecting a lot of your tasks and responsibilities. Internet addiction is something that can ruin not only your career, but also relationships — including the one you have with yourself.
The internet is your go-to fix for everything. While it’s true that a search engine can provide help on a lot of things, it cannot give solution to your every problem. If you run to the net to help manage stuff like depression, anger, stress and others, then it’s a sign that you are dependent on the internet.
You have no interest in other things. Did you use to collect stamps or play a lot of basketball but now you prefer to spend all of your free time (and even non-spare time) with your computer? If it feels like the internet is the only thing that you need to be happy, you are definitely addicted to it.
Here are some simple tips that may help curb your internet addiction:
Allow family and friends to change your passwords to your computer account and modem. Each time you feel the urge to log on the web, you have to let them know, giving them the power to intervene.
Spend more time with your loved ones. Your family and friends can provide you with the kind of love and attention that the internet simply cannot bring.
Look for a hobby that you find interesting. One of the secrets to curbing your internet addiction is to focus on something that can match and even surpass the kind of exhilaration it brings.
Change your schedule. Is it your habit to check your e-mails or play online games before anything else? Then try doing everything else and log on the web only after completing your tasks.
Seek the help of an expert. It’s also good idea to consult a mental health professional so that he or she may give you other tips on how you may get rid of your internet addiction.