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Lifestyle:  Addiction to the Internet

Although Internet Addiction is not yet an official disorder, obsessive Internet use is a real problem for some today.

Signs of “Internet Addiction”
  • Using the Internet more and more, while going out into the real world less and less.
  • Checking email too frequently during the day – every day.
  • Going online every day, rarely taking a day off.
  • Sneaking online to sites that you shouldn’t visit.
  • Others say that you are indeed online too much.
  • Sneaking online and checking email when you should be doing other things like working.
  • Arriving before work, staying after work, skipping lunch, avoiding meetings, avoiding co-workers – to use the Internet.
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Help for Web and Internet Addicts

Similar to other addiction recovery, realizing there is a problem is the starting point. Facing “why” the escape from the real world is necessary is next. Then decreasing online activity and replacing it with healthier activities can help the person get back to normal.

Help for Internet Addicts
Monitor and log use, then set goals for daily activity in its place and follow up with more monitoring and strategic planning. Begin logging “when” you go online and “why” and “where.” Then over time, cut back usage by replacing alternative resources for your attention. For example, instead of emailing people all day long, grab the phone and call others. Instead of playing games on Yahoo all night, allow yourself one hour and play solitaire or visit with a neighbor or friend and play a board game like chess.

Welcome back to the real world!
Instead of reading ebooks and forum posts for hours on end, grab some nonfiction self-improvement books, daily newspapers or popular magazines and learn more about the industries in your work environment or about nonprofits of interest and how you can join in their causes. Take charge and keep your mind stimulated and yourself active in the real world.

A counselor recommended by a healthcare provider may be about to help with this process, too. In this type of addiction, getting online help is probably not a good idea, since the goal is to spend LESS time online. So seek help from those referred by your local healthcare providers for starters. Monitoring online activity, what triggers jumping online each time, and replacing it with more appropriate, healthier activity is the key to recovery.

NEXT: Addictions: Treatment and Recovery



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