Internet addiction

Every get antsy because your computer ran out of battery? Do get cold sweats when the signal on your phone is week and you can’t access emails? Do you check Twitter as the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning (I’ll regret it later, but I will admit to this one)? If so, then I’ve got some bad news for you my friend…

You might as well face it, you’re addicted to the Internet.

internet-addictionWell, maybe YOU aren’t, but Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) affects thousands of people in the US and millions around the world. So much so that there are special rehab centers for Internet addicts and intervention programs to treat this kind of affliction.

The problem is especially prevalent in China, where over 10 million people are thought to be truly addicted. (China’s problem was in the news recently as it was revealed that institutionalized Internet addicts were abused while in care.)

But is it a real disorder? It’s not listed as an official mental problem yet, but most of us know someone who’s just on the wrong side of obsessive when it comes to Internet usage. Whether it’s compulsive gaming or blogging, IAD is a reality in today’s world.

Signs of Internet addiction

Since it’s not officially classified yet, there are no symptoms, per se, but the following are common (and a little obvious) behaviors exhibited by Internet addicts:

  • Being preoccupied with Internet activity (you can’t wait until you’re online again and feel anxious when you know you can’t get online)
  • You feel like you need more and more time on the Internet to feel satisfied
  • You’ve tried to cut back your usage, but have failed to do so
  • You don’t feel like yourself unless you’re on the Internet
  • You’ve neglected relationships or work for surfing the Internet
  • You’ve lied to people about being on the Internet (you feel like you have to hide your usage; you feel guilty about it)
  • Going on the Internet is the main thing that makes you feel better
  • You’ve withdrawn from “real world” activities

Curious as to how bad you’re getting with your internet usage? Take this quick quiz to see if you’re a healthy online surfer or if you should tone down your usage.

Find out more about IAD from the CNN story below as well as from Mashable’s coverage of the problem.