Internet Addiction Disorder

March 12, 2009 · 3 comments

Email.  Facebook.  Mafia Wars.  Twitter.  These are mine.

What are yours?  WoW?  Porn?  The Quixotic Jedi?  (wait – that’s me again)

Chances are, you or someone you know suffers from some sort of web dependency.  How many RSS feeds do you subscribe to?  How many times per day do you tweet, check your email, or “just jump online real quick”?  Do you have internet access on your phone?  Do you tweet or facebook from your phone?  How often do you check to see if someone’s commented on your comment?

I spend a lot of time on the net.  Most of my research for work is internet-based.  Thing is, I’m also on Facebook and Twitter “just checking” multiple times per day.  I have several email accounts – some I can get on my blackberry, some at work, etc.  Ditto for internet dating profiles, though I (thankfully) can’t check these at work – and I mean can’t as in the server won’t allow it (as opposed to my boss).  I’m always checking my blog stats and to see if there are any comments to be moderated, plugins to upgrade, etc.  Am I addicted?  Can I moderate?  Can I “stop if I want to”?

 Jennifer Ferris of Virginia *ahem* Tech has a good bare-bones summary of virtual addiction in her piece “Internet Addiction Disorder: Causes, Symptoms,and Consequences“.  Please see also the Internet Addiction Guide at Psych Central.  There’s also a very technical Argument for Inclusion in the DSM-V that you can read if your boredom threshold is lower (or is it higher?) than mine. 

Oh, and off topic, but the Wikipedia’s DSM-IV Codes page is a great way to find the names for what’s effed-up about you.  (“Me…me again…also me…I’m really close on this one.”)

You may or may not have this problem, “buy you can quickly diagnose yourself.”  Here’s the citation for the below:



One symptom of Internet addiction is excessive time devoted to Internet use. A person might have difficulty cutting down on his or her online time even when they are threatened with poor grades or loss of a job. There have been cases reported of college students failing courses because they would not take time off from Internet use to attend classes. Other symptoms of addiction may include lack of sleep, fatigue, declining grades or poor job performance, apathy, and racing thoughts. There may also be a decreased investment in social relationships and activities. A person may lie about how much time was spent online or deny that they have a problem. They may be irritable when offline, or angry toward anyone who questions their time on the Internet.




The patient must meet all of the following criteria:

  • He or she is preoccupied with the Internet (thinks about previous online activity or is anticipating the next online session).
  • He or she needs to spend longer and longer periods of time online in order to feel satisfied.
  • He or she has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use.
  • He or she is restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use.
  • He or she repeatedly stays online longer than he or she originally intended.

The person must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • He or she has jeopardized or risked the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of Internet use.
  • He or she has lied to family members, a therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet.
  • He or she uses the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving an unpleasant mood (such as feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression).

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

$@bs March 12, 2009 at 07:59

I definitely suffer from this and was just tweeting about it the other day – BTW, I recommend you follow @TransitionalTee on Twitter. We were just discussing this though I never thought of inserting the mouse directly into my vein – I’m interested in the effects of lacing it with television. I know you can’t relate, sadly, but I have 3 words for you: RuPaul’s Drag Race. Enough said.


niceguyted March 12, 2009 at 08:21

Done. I’m now following her.

I prefer to lace my internet use with JS Bach. Definitely more complex than television and the OD effects are not as stupefying.


lily nicole March 13, 2009 at 14:17
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