Signs of internet addiction disorder

How do you know know if you or a loved one is an internet addict? Probably NOT by physical signs typical of other chemical addictions. We’ll outline some of the common signs and symptoms of internet addiction in this short review of IAD, or internet addiction disorder.

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Signs of internet addiction

Overall, the compulsive use of the internet is the main feature of internet addiction.  And experts agree that internet use causes problems in the life of an internet addict, whether personal or professional.  All subtypes of internet addiction share the same components. Signs of someone who is addicted to being online include:

  1. excessive use of the internet or staying online longer than intended (frequently associated with a loss of sense of time or a neglect of basic needs)
  2. withdrawal accompanied by anger, tension, and/or depression when a computer is inaccessible
  3. the need for better computer equipment, more software, or more hours of use in order to achieve the same effect
  4. negative consequences of use, including arguments, lying, poor achievement, social isolation, and fatigue

Internet addiction screening questions

So, how can you screen for internet addiction?  Basically, here are seven questions to ask yourself or a loved one.  If you answer yes to at least three of these questions, you might consider asking for help.  Or then again, maybe even one “yes” would constitute a look at your internet use.

  • Are you spending more and more time on the Internet just to get the same level of satisfaction?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms (depression, agitation, moodiness) when not on line?
  • Do your Internet sessions last longer than planned?
  • Do you spend a great deal of time on other Net-related activities,such as buying related books, talking about the Net and trying new software?
  • Despite adverse effects (family problems, failure to complete work) do you continue to use the Internet?
  • Have your attempts to cut down or stop met with failure?
  • Are you giving up important social or occupational activities in order to spend time online?

What to do if you are addicted to the internet


About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Internet Addiction Centers are nowadays increasing like rehabilitation centers throughout the globe. Computer and the Internet must be used for necessity, but should not get addicted to it.

  2. I am tied of laying next. To a man I care aboutand crying every night. As soon as we get into bed he grabs his lap top and that’s we’re he stays till it’s time to get up..yesterday morning I was so happy to find him up next to me but I rolled over to him on the lap top with other women on it.of course when I cried he yelled. I am a breast cancer surviver .so I guess I can’t blame him for wanting a woman without all the scares and with all her parts..ii guess my question is I’m not sure what my question it. I quests I was hoping that you would tell me that this is his addiction and not because I am just to hideous for him to deal with

  3. my boyfriend is addicted to twitter. I’m not kidding, he spends about 17 hours a day on twitter. He doesn’t work – i do that. He doesn’t clean the house – i have to do that when i can. He rarely showers. This has been going on for about a year.

    I don’t think he has an illness and i don’t want to hear any more about how sorry i should feel for him or how i should cater to him. If i hear that i’ll troll you. I think he’s lazy who has a totally exaggerated sense of how important he is. Don’t mention it to him though. He starts screaming and demanding that i give him things in order to elicit the behaviour i want to see. I’ve tried meeting his demands and his behaviour doesn’t change. He continues to be a loser. I try to talk to him. He calls me names and yells about how i’m stressing him out (he does nothing, doesn’t have to do anything – i work full time. I also seriously study martial arts full time. On top of this, i have chronic pain.) I come home to his chaos as little as i have to. He is often angry. I often hate him.

    We’ve been together 7 years and i want to move out. I’m worried about him and i feel really sorry for him. But the idea of continuing to live in his chaos is literally making me crazy. I have random nightmares. My stomach is usually upset. But then i think, really think of leaving and thinking of what that would do to him and it makes me so sad for him that i continue to stay. I worry about what will happen to him if i leave. I don’t even want to think about the shitstorm that will ensue if i turn off the internet.

    He can’t do anything like a normal person. He has to overdo everything and he’s obsessive. He natters on about what people say on twitter as if i care.

    This sounds like a joke. It’s not.. i’m just pissed off.

    Heather, you’re like me. You’re an enabler thinking that if you continue to keep things exactly the same, he’ll change. Asshole won’t change. Neither will the jackass i live with. Let’s be internet anonymous buddies and ditch them together 🙂

    Seriously i’m a web programmer. That’s what i do 8 hours a day. He doesn’t have a job. And he spends more time online than i do. Ridiculous..

    Internet addicts beware. Your partner will either leave you or cheat on you. Trust me. I know. Eventually we get tired of being told that, somehow or another, it’s all our fault.

  4. Internet addiction causes various poor behavioral and emotional problems in teenagers such as stress, depression, self-destructive behavior and isolation also. There are various specialized programs for helping children to overcome stressing issues and internet addiction problem.

  5. Ok, I’ve ticked yes to six of those boxes. I don’t see myself as an addict quite yet but I think I’m getting close to it. I’ve taken to going to bed with my laptop and balancing it on my chest! It’s given me bad back problems, stiff neck and aching shoulders, so much so that I’m currently on a course with a local physio. BUT even though the physio has told me to stop reading the computer every night like that, even though I know it’s sooo wrong not just for my bones but because I don’t sleep till 3am most night, and I know I’m not doing anything particularly useful. But I just can’t help it. If you told me I couldn’t take my laptop to bed at night, I would probably cry. It is THAT sad. Anyway, thanks for your article, I’m just getting stuff off my chest (but not my laptop hahaha)

  6. Internet addiction is maybe more dangerous than substance abuse addictions because it’s not directly devosteting for one’s health.

  7. Heather – I feel for you. You might want to seek from a licensed psychologist, or from a support group. Please let me know if I can help reference a good directory for you.

    Bill – I am so happy to hear that you are able to help your son learn limits to computer and internet use. The fact that he complies now can help him later when he is on his own. But once he’s on his own…he’s on his own, eh?

  8. I think my 14 year old is going through a little internet addiction…also video game addiction. Although I don’t think is too serious we are limiting computer and television time. If he had his way he wouldn’t turn the machines off!

  9. I believe my husband is addicted to the internet. These gaming applications on the social sites most of all. He spends hours on end on the computer. He HAS to go on before work, and it’s the first thing he does when he gets home. He will stop only because he is hungry or tired. I have kept track of his time online, and lately it has gone up to an adverage of 10-15 hours a day. One time he got on at 9pm, got off to go to work at 6am, got home at 1pm, and got back on until he was falling asleep at the desk around 6pm. He does this constantly. It worries me because when I try to talk to him about it he gets really angry. He won’t listen to me, and I rarely see him anymore, and we live together!

  10. I’m not sure that I’m exactly a model for internet addiction, as I work on the internet and spend my free time creating this blog. But, I do know that I DO NOT crave time in front of my computer. It is the feelings that a person experiences while on the Internet that reinforces overuse. If you’re not experiencing loss of control I think you’re probably OK. 🙂

  11. This is a great post and I’ve been thinking about it since I read it. I do prefer to be close to an internet connection, as it’s how I stay connected to friends and my patients. Also, a because I’m working to get my online services up and running, I find myself on my computer more than I used to be, and I know I need to set limits. It’s easy to get distracted as there is an endless supply of things ‘to do.’ I’m going to notice my behavior for the next couple of weeks, and start setting timers so I don’t spend too much time online. I’ll look forward to any advice on these issues.

    Thank you,


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