Spending time online, be it shopping, working or talking to cyber-friends can be both productive and fun for some people, but for those who suffer from computer addiction, the ere of fun and productivity is overcome by compulsivity and shame. Computer addiction can interrupt relationships, wreak havoc on your productivity and result in a number of negative consequences in your life. Recognizing the sings that you need computer addiction help early on may save you, and your loved ones some unnecessary stress.
Common Signs of Computer Addiction
- You feel like you can’t quit when you’re on the computer, even when you try to limit your time or do other things, you wind up back on the computer.
- You think about the computer regularly, even when you should be focused on other things. You are preoccupied with the computer.
- You seek solace in the computer—it has become an escape for when you’re sad, anxious, upset or are in search of sexual gratification.
- Problems at work, home or school have developed as a result of your computer use and your obsession with the computer.
- You can’t keep track of time when you’re on the computer. You may say you’ll only be five minutes, but before you know it, you’ve spent hours on the computer.
- You are anxious or depressed when you cannot be on the computer or when your time on the computer is interrupted by others.
- You feel guilty or otherwise saddened by your computer use, maybe you even want to cut back but despite your good intentions you cannot control your desire to be online or on the computer.
- You lie to others about what you are doing on the computer. Maybe you tell a loved one that you are working when really your cyber-surfing or you tell your boss you’re working when really you’re talking to friends via social media.
- You have pain, numbness or burning in your hands as a result of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and you continue to use the computer for non-work or non-essential tasks.
- You have trouble focusing on priorities in life because you’re too distracted by the computer, your desire to be on the computer or the activities that you perform while on the computer.
If you have noticed any of these signs that you need computer addiction help, the next step is to take action. According to the Counseling Center at UT Dallas, “treatment must begin with recognizing that there is a problem.” You must first overcome denial that there is a problem, then you can begin to get the help that you need. Computer addiction help is available in many forms—although this is a relatively new problem, computer addiction help is generally focused on similar styles of treatment that are used in helping people who suffer from other types of behavioral disorders such as sexual addictions or compulsive behaviors. This includes:
- Providing behavior modification techniques
- Counseling to address underlying problems or emotions that may have led to the computer use
- Assessing the patient for other disorders including anxiety or depression
- Providing support