Last updated: 11/1/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Spending too much time on the computer could be a sign that there is a bigger problem such as a problem with addiction that requires professional medical treatment. Computer addiction symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction and may be relatively easy to spot but if you’re too close to a situation, you may let the symptoms of addiction slip by and go unnoticed.
When you feel more comfortable spending time on the computer than you do with friends or family members, there is a potential that addiction is present in your life. While using the computer regularly doesn’t guarantee an addiction, compulsive use of the computer which results in interruptions in your life, your health, your social well-being and your interaction with friends or family does signify the need for additional insight and a potential need for further help.
Computer addiction symptoms may vary according to the level or severity of the addiction. For some, there may be mild interruptions in lifestyle which include a lack of desire to spend time away from the computer, a lack of personal appearance, a lack of involvement with friends or family or an ill will to refrain from computer use. For others, computer addiction may include excessive time spent on the computer, anger or resentment when time is taken away from the computer and a preoccupation with the computer.
If you or someone you know is showing any of the following signs of computer addiction, it would be a good idea to consider seeking professional help. Although computer addiction symptoms are not outlined in stone nor are they fully understood in the healthcare setting as of yet, they are real. The International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies notes that these symptoms can lead to physical and psychological consequences if they are left untreated or unnoticed.
Withdrawal from Friends or Family
Many people who become addicted to computers, the internet, gaming or other electronic activities will withdraw from friends and family members. They may not even realize that they are spending less and less time with their loved ones; but the loved ones will likely realize this. Unfortunately, computer addiction symptoms are often progressive which means that they will continue to progress and become worse with time which means that if the withdrawal from friends and family members is not noticed and corrected right away, it will likely become worse before it gets better.
Losing Track of Time Spent on the Computer
We’ve all lost track of time once or twice; it’s not necessarily a sign of computer addiction if you’ve lost track of your time spent online. However, if you’ve lost track of time spent on the computer many times over there could be a sign that you need professional help. If you frequently spend more time on the computer than you intend to or if you get irritated or angry when computer time is interrupted then there is likely a deeper problem to deal with.
Inability to Maintain Daily Responsibilities
Computer addiction symptoms may not really seem like a prevalent problem until you realize that your time on the computer is taking away from everyday routines or tasks. If you cannot maintain responsibilities such as work, school or taking care of a family because you are spending your time on the computer, you should seek professional help.
Euphoric Sense or Gratification when on the Computer
Computer addiction symptoms such as feeling euphoric when on the computer or feeling a sense of gratification when spending time on the computer signify a need for professional help. In most cases, there is a reason why you have sought this gratification from the computer rather than from another activity and the reasons for such must be determined in order to help you quit your excessive use of the computer.
Do you know someone who is defensive about his or her use of the computer? Have you caught a loved one in a lie about his or her use of the computer or the activities that are being performed while on the computer? Becoming defensive about computer use, lying about computer use or otherwise feeling guilty about what events are taking place when using the computer are all computer addiction symptoms that should be taken seriously.
Attempting to Cut Back Computer Use—and Failing
Have you tried to spend less time on the computer? Have you made a commitment to a loved one that you will not spend so much time on the computer or that you will not perform certain activities such as shopping, gaming or gambling on the computer? If you’ve made these commitments and you have done your best to follow through with your commitment and have failed, you could be showing signs of computer addiction. Routine relapse against your own best judgment is one of the most common computer addiction symptoms there is.