Internet Use Disorder

You may be asking yourself, how do I know if I have an internet problem? It may be a difficult question to answer, so let’s take a few minutes to define the question a little better. What do we mean by the word problem? When a behavior or a set of behaviors begins to interfere with normal activities in your life it can be considered a problem.

Normal Activities

The internet is a wonderful tool having unlimited uses to make our life more rewarding. Unless your profession is internet related or website programming or design, requiring your full time attention, you probably read your emails, do a little online shopping, catch up on the latest news, perhaps downloading some music or watching a movie. All are normal activities. Do you even keep track of how much time you spend online or if you are staying online longer with each session? We often do the same activities everyday. Like most people we barely even think about the routine things we do.


Compulsive behavior is altogether different from simple daily activities or habits. It is out-of-control behavior marked by deeply entangled rituals and obsessions along with overwhelming feelings of frustration, self-blame, powerlessness and hopelessness.

Ask yourself if you play online games to excess. Do you compulsively shop online? Do you constantly check your email, text messages or social media activity? Do you visit cyber-sex chatrooms or porn sites on a daily basis? Is your internet behavior secretive? Do you surf the net at work when your boss isn’t around?

Continuation Despite Consequences 

It is possible to continue the behavior despite adverse consequences such as loss of a job, relationship, marriage, or even your freedom. All behaviors have consequences, both positive and negative.

Most of the time we are able to look at our behavior and judge the effect and make adjustments accordingly to reduce the negative consequences. Sometimes we are blind to some of our negative behaviors. We eat too much. We drink too much. We gamble too much. We shop too much. We surf the net too much also.

Some individuals are predisposed to internet addiction because they also suffer from anxiety and depression or are shy, have low self-esteem and/or feel socially awkward. The internet fills a void that is emotionally rewarding.


An obsession is being so preoccupied that you lose focus on a particular behavior – to the exclusion of other activities of your life without really caring. You can be obsessed with something that you can’t stop thinking about it. It occupies most of your time and mental energy.

The need to belong colors our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. We spend a great deal of time thinking about actual and hoped-for relationships. When real relationships form, we often feel joy. People have been known to feel their cheeks ache from their never-ending grins caused by falling in love. Is this the force behind some compulsions?

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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