Not only is Internet addiction real, but it also has the potential to be catastrophically life-affecting. One of the biggest problems when it comes to identifying a true case is the way in which the vast majority of people these days are glued to their computers and devices on a daily basis anyway. Which in turn can make it difficult to know where to draw the line between heavy use and addiction. In terms of the way in which such habits can affect our lives however, the latter is considerably more detrimental.
Nevertheless, the experts at www.davidgoodlad.co.uk advise that there are various ways and means by which a dangerous Internet addiction can be separated from normal/heavy use. So when it comes to identifying a potential problem either in yourself or a loved one, the following signs and symptoms should not be overlooked:
First of all, one of the most characteristic signs of many addictions (Internet addiction included) is that of the individual spending more and more time alone. This usually occurs when the individual in question has to some extent lost control over their habits/behaviour and is slowly but surely isolating themselves, in order to get the ‘fix’ they need behind closed doors. When it comes to states that you are hiding your behaviour from others, this often confirms that there is a problem to be addressed.
The same also goes for defensiveness as if you genuinely do not believe you have a problem, it should be no problem to speak openly about the subject. By contrast, when an individual becomes almost aggressively defensive each time the subject is broached, this can be indicative of a problem. If the individual concerned seems unwilling or unable to calmly and rationally discuss the subject out in the open, this could be the result of an addiction.
Denial falls into the same bracket as untruths – any individual lying about their behaviour or activities on a regular or routine basis is to a large extent admitting that what they are doing is wrong or unhealthy. It is the same with Internet addiction as it is with largely every other addiction, wherein those who are aware of the fact that their behaviour is problematic will do as much as they can to hide it from others – including lying.
When and where an activity begins to take a toll on day-to-day life in general despite the fact that it is of no real importance or value, this can also be indicative of an addiction. It could be that the individual in question no longer has time to spend with friends or family, they may constantly make excuses to get out of engagements and responsibilities or it simply may be that they become entirely unreliable. In such instances, it may be a case of them having lost control of their behaviour due to an addiction.
Another common sign of Internet addiction is social isolation. In this instance, individuals affected by Internet addiction often shut themselves off from the real world entirely and live almost exclusively through their computers with their online personas. They may have an extraordinary list of apparent ‘friends’ and followers online, but in the real world they may be becoming increasingly isolated and alone.
Experts agree that one of the most characteristic signs of Internet addiction is when an individual falls into a state of severe anxiety, fear and panic in any instance where they are suddenly or for any given period of time unable to access the Internet. Once again, there is a big difference between irritation at losing your connection and becoming genuinely agitated and anxious due to not being able to log on.
It’s also relatively common for those with Internet addiction to find themselves having problems in the workplace. It could be that they are distracted to the point where they are unable to fulfil their duties, perhaps they are finding themselves in trouble for wasting time during working hours or it could be that their attendance is slipping. When Internet use becomes problematic in the workplace, it may be a tell-tale sign of addiction.
Last but not least, it’s also common these days for most people to occasionally stay up late and find it rather difficult to log off and go to bed. Nevertheless, when sleep becomes something of an inconvenience and begins on a regular basis to take a backseat to Internet activities of any kind, this largely verifies that the problem has increased beyond control.