The internet is a wonderful invention that has allowed us to connect with friends, learn new things, and interact with the world in ways we never have before. However, some people take this wonder way too far and have become addicted to it.
Believe it or not, internet addiction is a real thing, and many people struggle with it. Between 3 million and twenty million people may meet the criteria of being addicted to the internet in the United States alone.
How do you know if you or a loved one have internet addiction? We’ll tell you about some things to watch out for in the paragraphs below.
1. Staying Online for Hours at a Time
People with internet addiction may spend hours online per day, not just for work or school, but for enjoyment as well. Keep in mind that internet addiction and pornography addiction are not necessarily the same. One can spend hours online watching or searching for pornography, but they could also be playing online games, using social media or any number of other things.
A person with internet addiction may use the web for everything, from addressing social needs to having fun and even calming down again. Many people use it to learn, but end up falling down a rabbit hole until they’re reading about something completely unrelated.
This is not as uncommon as you may think. It’s been estimated that globally, over 400 million people are addicted to the internet. If you thought that fact was shocking you can learn more here.
2. Experiencing Negative Emotions and Preoccupation When Not Online
An internet addict may get so dependent on the internet that they feel wrong when they’re away from it. They may be angry, fidgety, and bored when they’re off their phone or computer for extended periods of time.
In that same vein, internet addiction often stems from emotional and mental issues in the first place, specifically depression, anxiety, or some other form of addiction. When we are forced to break that addiction, those feelings will come back because we never actually dealt with them.
You may spend a lot of your time offline thinking about things you want to do online. It seems to be all you want to do.
3. Social Isolation
Spending significant amounts of time doing anything means there’s less time for other activities. With addictions, these other activities often include social interaction, especially when it comes to family and friends.
Addicts cut themselves off from the world, which can damage their relationships and make life tougher for everyone involved. As with any addiction, internet addicts can become so dependent on the internet that they begin to take advantage of others. This will only make a bad situation worse.
Being cut off from the world can cause serious mental issues and worsen those we may already have. Numerous suicides have occurred as a result of solitary confinement.
Social isolation can also cause hallucinations. In fact, many psychologists have concluded that more than 10 days to two weeks with no human contact will cause severe psychological symptoms, and may constitute torture.
Though internet addicts may not be as socially isolated as those in solitary confinement, they will still experience issues if they continue to sacrifice human relationships for online ones.
If you think you may have an addiction, it’s not uncommon to feel ashamed. As humans, our brains are hardwired to try to avoid negative emotions, so we may lie to ourselves and those around us.
They say that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. There’s a lot of truth to this because denial is a textbook aspect of addiction.
If you recognize some of these symptoms in yourself, don’t write it off as coincidence or pseudoscience. Be honest with yourself and work towards recovery.
5. Time Management Issues
You may spend more time on the internet than you intended. You may find that you have difficulty sticking to a schedule or that you may adjust certain parts of your schedule specifically to accommodate internet use.
Internet use may begin to interfere with work and put your lifestyle in jeopardy. It’s not just work, either. You may find yourself cutting out time that you used to spend on hobbies or self-improvement projects, such as exercise.
6. Health Problems
On the subject of exercise, prolonged internet addiction can lead to issues with overall health. Sitting at a computer desk day in and day out may cause you to gain weight, which comes with its own list of health problems.
For help with losing weight, you might want to look into probiotics.
Weight issues aren’t the only problems that you can develop as a result of internet addiction. There’s also Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, aches and pains, and difficulty sleeping, among others.
How to Tell if You Have an Internet Addiction
Internet addiction is a pervasive issue and one that doesn’t get enough attention. For that reason, it may be very easy for a person to have it and be unaware of it.
The good news is that there are symptoms to look for if you think you may be addicted. Perhaps you spend hours at a time online, and maybe even most of your day. Sometimes you may not even know how long it’s been.
When you’re offline, you just want to be back on it, and you may lie about your internet use. If left untreated, internet addiction can lead to physical and psychological health problems, so it’s best to get help when you can.
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