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Internet Addiction Prevention
By Kimberly S. Young, Psy.D.
Source: Journal Of Employee Assistance - First Quarter 2005

Over the past decade, Internet abuse has become a growing problem in the home and in the workplace. The ever-increasing availability of computers along with cable, broadband and DSL connections means that millions of us have rapid access to the every expanding world wide web. Many of us worry about the Internet habits of our spouses, our children and our friends. We are not sure how to tell if a loved one has a problem or maybe even how to control our own addictive tendencies. For all of us, here are the essential facts about Internet addiction:

Risk factors for abuse

Risk factors such as loneliness, stress, depression, anxiety, and prior substance abuse may trigger an addiction to the Internet. Individuals facing critical issues such as a recent divorce, the death of a loved one or problems at home, may turn to the Internet as an escape. Some people become overly involved In online relationships to avoid dealing with the loneliness and social Isolation of their lives.

Feelings of excitement, euphoria, and exhilaration may accompany online behavior, which in turn reinforces compulsivity. Because of the mental pleasure people receive from their online activity, their Involvement becomes increasingly Intense.

7 Warning signs of addiction

1. Staying online longer than intended.
2. Feeling preoccupied with online use, often to the point of daydreaming and anticipating the next online session.
3. Inability to control online use
4. Feeling restless, moody, depressed or irritable when attempting to restrict or stop
Internet use.
5. Jeopardizing relationships or career endeavors because of excessive Internet use
6. Lying to family members or friends to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet.
7. Using the Internet as a way of escaping from problems.

Consequences of Internet abuse

Research has documented serious consequences for using the Internet in an addictive manner- social isolation depression, marital/relationship discord, divorce, Job loss and even financial debt -resulting from obsessive online gambling, shopping or gaming.

Internet addiction prevention

Avoid online applications that are likely to trigger compulsions including:

  • Pornography sites
  • Participation in sex chat rooms
  • Gambling sites
  • Shopping sites
  • Gaming sites.

    If the Internet is starting to be a problem for you, keep a time log of your computer use to improve your personal accountability when online. Take breaks form your computer use, get up, exercise, meditate, etc. Personal time outs can help disrupt unhealthy patterns of online use.

    This article was adapted (mm internet Addiction Prevention and Education by Kimberly S. Young, Psy.O., let Quarter 2005, Journal of Employee Assistance.

    Below are listed two internet sites that you may find helpful in dealing with this problem.

    www.netaddiction.com - Help With Internet Addiciton
    www.sa.org - Sexaholics Anonymous