Last updated: 09/25/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Spending time online can be very productive. There’s a plethora of information available at your fingertips and you can shop without even leaving the house. But when use of the internet interferes with your daily routines, work schedule, health or relationships, you may just be using the internet more than you should be. Internet addiction symptoms are often overlooked, but learning to recognize them can help you stay in control of your own internet use or to monitor a loved one’s use of the internet to ensure safe cyber-surfing.
It’s important to balance your online life and your off-line life in a way that is conducive your own healthy living. Spending more time online than you would with your family, being involved in social networks more than you are in personal networks or excessively using the internet despite the known problems that such use is causing in your life can all be signs of internet addiction. Symptoms can become progressive in nature meaning that as the addiction progresses the symptoms also will become more prevalent and noticeable.
While some believe that internet addiction is just a fad and not a real disorder, others agree that internet addiction is very much real; in fact, many psychologists say that internet addiction is as real as drug addiction, alcohol addiction and gambling addiction. Internet addiction symptoms are most often noticed by outsiders first but in some cases, the addict him or herself may come to terms with the fact that there is a problem with his or her compulsive internet use.
Common Internet Addiction Symptoms
The most common internet addiction symptoms are outlined below. These are not all of the symptoms nor are they the only symptoms of internet addiction but they are some of the most common of the bunch. If you suffer from 5 or more of the following internet addiction symptoms, it is recommended that you seek professional help through counseling in a rehabilitative environment. Internet addiction disorder is real!
Preoccupied with the Internet
One of the most common internet addiction symptoms that an individual will have is a preoccupation with the internet. This includes thinking about the next time you will go online or the last time you were online, anticipating your next chat or search on the World Wide Web or otherwise spending time being preoccupied with the internet to a point in which you are not focused on what you should be.
Desire to Increase Internet Time
Do you feel like you have to use the internet more and more in order to feel satisfied? Another one of many common internet addiction symptoms revolves around the perceived need to spend time online in order to be happy or to be satisfied with your internet use. You may feel like you just can’t get enough and have to keep going back for more searching, browsing or shopping online.
Attempting to Control Internet Use Unsuccessfully
Have you tried to stop using the internet, set limits on your time spent online or made other commitments to control internet use and failed? One of the more common internet addiction symptoms includes making an honest attempt to control internet use and failing at your own attempts.
Restlessness or Irritability
Many people who become addicted to the internet show similar symptoms of withdrawal as those who are addicted to drugs. You may feel restless, anxious, irritable, depressed or otherwise upset if you cannot use the internet or if your time is cut short. These internet addiction symptoms are mostly psychological but they are a real sign that there is a problem at hand.
Staying Online Longer than Planned
You say you’re only going to be online for an hour, but before you know it, it’s been five hours; you could be suffering from internet addiction. Staying online longer than planned, and doing so repeatedly is a common symptom of internet addiction and a sign that there is a need for professional help.
Jeopardizing Relationships for the Internet
Internet addiction symptoms don’t only involve the addict. In fact, many of the signs or symptoms of internet addiction resort to the way that the compulsive use of the internet affects others such as friends or family members. People who are addicted to the internet will often jeopardize their relationships with their loved ones in order to spend time online.
Lying about Internet Use
Many internet addiction symptoms are comparable to the symptoms of various substance abuse problems such as drug or alcohol addiction. Addicts will often lie about their internet use claiming that they were working or performing other tasks while online or claiming that they do not spend as much time online as they really do. This could be the result of being in denial of the problem or a legitimate desire to attempt to fool the outsider as to one’s internet use.
Using the internet to control your mood, feel good, cover up guilt or anxiety or otherwise escape the problems that are a reality in life are all common internet addiction symptoms. The internet should not be a go to source for relieving stress, coping with problems, healing emotionally or otherwise dealing with life in general; if it is, there is a true problem at hand.