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Are You Addicted to the Internet?

It's no secret: Many people use the computer to satisfy, stir up excitement, release tension or provide relief--whether it involves sex or not. Surfing, chatting, playing interactive games--that's where those long hours go.

But, like any good thing in life, you can get too much of a good thing. This study rings true for me as last week I was up in rural Canada and had no Net access for four days. While I did not go through withdrawal, I also did not appreciate downloading my 551 e-mails after four days off-line (especially when it was done at 19kb).

Here are some signs that suggest you might have a problem with Internet addiction:

  • You have a preoccupation in which the Internet becomes "irresistible."
  • Using the Internet for longer periods than planned. You say you'll be off in an hour, but three hours later you are still at it.
  • Preoccupation causes significant problems in relationships, work or other important areas of functioning.
  • You try to cut back but can't.
  • You have excessive thoughts about it.
  • You get a sense of tension or arousal before doing it and get pleasure afterward--much as kleptomaniacs feel after lifting something.
  • Your other responsibilities, such as paying the bills, get neglected.

Depression & Anxiety August 2003;17(4):207-16

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