Internet Addiction

Always online or on the line?

The internet has been an important utility in our daily life. To some, it is used to access information and to reach out. But to others, it is life itself. What happens when there is no connection? Does it feel like someone has turned off your life-support system? Or do you feel like pulling someone else’s plug (switches or charger)? Here is what you need to know


Internet Addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behaviour which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment. Internet addicts make the Internet a priority more important than family, friends, and work. The Internet becomes the organizing principle of addicts’ lives. They are willing to sacrifice what they cherish most in order to preserve and continue their unhealthy behaviour.

Forms of Internet Addiction are such as:

  • Information overload –decreased productivity at work and fewer interactions with family members.
  • Online pornography/ sex
  • Online gambling (gambling addiction)
  • Online gaming
  • Online shopping
  • Social Media


Meeting 5 of the criteria of the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ) means you could be addicted.

  1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
  2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
  3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
  4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
  5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
  6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
  7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
  8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?


  • You suffer from anxiety.An anxiety disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder may also contribute to excessive email checking and compulsive Internet use.
  • You are depressed.It contributes to stress, isolation and loneliness.
  • You have any other addictions.Many Internet addicts suffer from other addictions, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex.
  • You lack social support.Used as a safe way of establishing new relationships but lack of personal interaction.
  • You’re an unhappy teenager.You might be wondering where you fit in and the Internet could feel more comfortable than real-life friends.
  • You are stressed.The longer you spend online, the higher your stress levels will be.


Physical Symptoms of Internet Addiction

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (pain and numbness in hands and wrists)
  • Dry eyes or strained vision
  • Back aches and neck aches; severe headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Pronounced weight gain or weight loss


  • Encourage social activities. Increase and set the time you spend in personal communication with people.
  • Stay connected with the offline world. Find hobbies that get you away from the computer.
  • Set reasonable Internet use goals and stick to them. Use an alarm clock to signal that your online time is up.
  • Take frequent breaks.At least five minutes each hour, and do some other activities.
  • Use parental control apps.Limit usage of data in smartphones, or restricting texting and web browsing to certain times of the day.
  • Therapy and counselling for Internet addiction.Cognitive behavioural therapy or Mindfulness-based approach provide step-by-step ways to develop self-awareness, coping skills and social skills to stop compulsive internet behaviours.



  • Be a good role model.
  • Get your friend to involved in non-Internet related interests and social activities.
  • Talk to your friend about your concerns
  • Support their desire for change.
Internet Addiction Inforgraphic 
 Always Online or on the line?

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