Computer Addiction

For some people, computer use develops into something compulsive, and usage either online or offline interferes with daily routines, relationships, activities and and one’s overall well-being. Computer addiction may result from or cause compulsive online gambling, an online shopping problem, web surfing or even obsessive computer programming

If you regularly spend more time on the computer than you intend to, experience distress because of the computer, or if your computer use interferes with your obligations then you could be suffering from an addiction to the computer. Although computer addiction is a relatively new problem, there are effective treatments that can help people who are addicted to computer understand their addiction and regain control of their lives.

What is Computer Addiction?

This addiction is characterized by an excessive desire and subsequent use of the internet or the computer that results in negative consequences socially, financially, physically, emotionally or otherwise for the user. A preoccupation with computers can lead to problems with relationships, problems with productivity or problems with self-care and hygiene.

It’s important to recognize that not all people who spend hours each day on the computer are considered addicted. There are many uses for computers and the internet and in many cases, an individual may spend 6 or more hours in a day on the computer but still not be considered an addict. Each individual situation is different and therefore, there is no set number of hours that is (or is not) considered a potential for computer addiction.

Recognizing the Signs of Computer Addiction

There are many signs that you may recognize if you or someone you love is actually addicted to the computer. Although there is no real physical dependence that can evolve from the excessive usage of computers, there are a number of emotional or psychological issues that can be present. Paying attention to the possible signs of computer addiction will help you to recognize these signs early on and get help if necessary.

Look out for these signs of computer addiction:

Effects of Computer Addiction

You may not think that using the computer excessively can have a negative impact on your life but for those who become addicted to the computer, compulsive use can actually lead to a number of lasting consequences in work, home and social life. If you or someone you know is addicted to the computer, you may be experiencing the following effects of compulsive computer use:

Many of the above effects of computer addiction can be easily reversed with time and treatment. For instance, while you may lose a relationship when you are addicted to the computer, getting the treatment you need to overcome the addiction can lead to the building of new, lasting relationships or the re-building of a past relationship that suffered as a result of your addiction.

What Causes Computer Addiction?

Are you trying to figure out what could have caused you to become addicted to the computer? Computer addiction has a number of causes and could be the result of a mental illness, an addictive personality or something else. In many cases, computer addiction is the cause of an underlying issue with anxiety or a similar mental illness.

The most common causes for computer addiction are:

Types of Computer Addiction

There are many different types of computer addiction and each typically characterized by the type or method of excessive computer usage. For instance, some people don’t even have a desire to spend time online while on the computer, they simply spend time reprogramming or tinkering with computers—this can still be an addiction but it’s quite different than an internet addiction or a cybersex addiction.

The most common types of computer addiction are:

How Much Computer Use is Too Much?

There are no set limitations that determine excessive use of a computer. For instance, one person might spend 8 hours a day on the computer and not be a computer addict while another might spend only two hours a day on the computer and they could be suffering from an addiction. This is because computer addiction is not outlined by the number of hours or days at a time that are spent on the computer but rather by the ways that the use of the computer affects other aspects of our daily lives.

Follow these tips to recognize healthy use of the computer versus unhealthy use of a computer:

Ongoing Symptoms of Computer Addiction

Sometimes, it may be easy to spot the symptoms of computer addiction early on while other times it could take weeks, months or even years before you realize that the addiction is a problem. The symptoms of computer addiction are mostly emotional or behavioral in manner and include changes in behaviors that lead to a lack of self control, a lack of self-esteem and a lack of socialization.

You may recognize the following symptoms in an individual who is addicted to computers:

Each of these symptoms may be present when an individual becomes addicted to the computer. Computer addiction can cause many adverse reactions from friends and family members especially when they begin to feel as though your computer use is more important to you than your interaction or responsibility to them.

Why Do People become Addicted to Computers?

Are you wondering why anyone would become addicted to a computer? It seems that there are various reasons for people to turn to the computer and to become addicted but the most logical explanation is that people use the computer to escape reality or to cover up their emotions. Many find it easier to socialize from behind closed doors in an online fantasy world. Others think that if they shop or gamble excessively online that nobody else will notice. Regardless of the reason why an individual may be using the computer excessively, there are consequences that result and in some cases the need for treatment to overcome this addiction is absolutely necessary.

Many people use the computer to self medicate for some other problem such as because they are anxious in certain situations such as in social situations or because they are depressed. Others will turn to the computer to hunt for information and then realize that they just can’t get enough information. Still others may use the computer as a means of distracting them from the real world or from emotional situations that they have experienced.

How to Stop Computer Addiction

If you or someone you love is addicted to computers than you’re probably wondering how it can be stopped. Computers are a regular asset in our lives used during work and school, regularly used at home and even used on the go. We encounter computers in all facets of our lives including many daily routines that we perform such as paying bills, working or researching an important topic for school. Computers are such an important part of our everyday lives, it can be very difficult to stop using the computer if you are addicted. The easy access that we all have to computers can make overcoming a computer addiction that much more difficult.

Fortunately, there is help available for those who suffer from this primarily behavioral condition. Computer addiction can be overcome through a series of behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy and social support. There are also some things that you can do for yourself or for someone you care about to help reduce the risk of a computer addiction or to overcome the addiction.

Self-Help for Computer Addiction

If you think you are addicted to the computer or that you have an internet addiction, there are some actions that you can take on your own to monitor your addiction, reduce you computer usage and get things under control.

The following tips will help you to overcome a computer addiction on your own:

Treatment for Computer Addiction

If you are addicted to the computer, there are options for treatment. Many methods of counseling and therapy can be provided to help you overcome mental illness, traumatic experiences or other circumstances that may be causing you to escape to the computer.

Some of the most common methods of treatment for computer addiction include: