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10 Signs of Internet Addiction that are Commonly Mistaken

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Last updated: 09/25/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

1. Misuse of Money

Sometimes people mistake a large amount of money spent on Internet activities, gaming, and the like as a sign of addiction. It may be a sign of obsession in this case, but obsessions can be fun and not harmful where addiction is always harmful to the individual (and usually to others as well). If someone uses the funds meant to pay for bills, food, or other necessary items on Internet use or gaming, this is a sign of addiction.

2. Lying

Signs of Internet Addiction

If you have an extremely hard time getting off the Internet you may be addicted.

According to Harvard, “Lying about the amount of time spent on computer activities” is a sign of Internet addiction. Many friends and family members tend to mistake it or not notice it, but it is a strong sign that something is wrong.

3. Failing to Stop

If someone feels that they should control their computer use and fails to do so repeatedly, this is not a sign of obsession or Internet enjoyment but a sign of inability to quit and of addiction.

4. Relationship Problems

Many people believe that unhappy spouses or significant others are a sign that an Internet user is addicted, but one troubled relationship does not always point to addiction. In fact, addicted individuals will likely have chronic relationship problems as a result of their Internet use and problems in friendships or family relationships as well.

5. Lack of Control

Have you ever looked at the clock and realized you’ve been online for hours longer than you thought? If this is a chronic symptom for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having fun but may mean that you have a lack of control over your Internet use.

6. Medical Problems

If you have recently found yourself with a medical problem that stems from your computer use (ex. carpal tunnel syndrome), this could be a result of too much time spend on the Internet. If you ignore it, this is a sign of addiction.

7. Withdrawal

Someone who is addicted to the Internet and cannot go online might experience “anxiety, moodiness and compulsive fantasizing about the Internet” as withdrawal symptoms (ADF). They often do not realize why this is.

8. Compulsive Need

The user will feel less of a desire to be on the Internet and more of a compulsive need. For example, if someone goes online at work when they are not supposed to in order to feel less anxious, this is a sign of addiction, not enjoyment.

9. Thinking About It All the Time

Someone who thinks a lot about going on the Internet and enjoys it more than most things might be obsessed, but someone who thinks about going online all the time and cannot focus on anything else is addicted.

10. School/Work Problems

If you would rather be on the Internet than at school or work, you are likely healthy and just enjoy being online as a past time. However, if you neglect school and work to be online and you experience problems in these areas while your performance suffers greatly, you are likely addicted to the Internet.

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