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Danny©

Internet addiction

This board is about healthy lifestyle choices and how we use the internet can definitely be considered a lifestyle choice. Lately I have met a person who claims to be a "recovering internet addict".

Through him I have met and talked with a lot of other people, all with the same problem, with the same modalities and with the goal of creating a group to support recovering internet addicts, a problem they consider a real dangerous pathology.

I think it's useful to analyze one's internet lifestyle in order to detect an addiction and maybe find a solution or ask help.

This is how internet destroyed the life of these "internet addicts" slowly and subtly.

1) More and more time is spent on chat rooms, blogs, forums, newgroups, messengers and they have created a real virtual alter-ego of themselves. The alter-ego gets stronger than the real person and the virtual life starts to take the place of the real life.

2) House chores start to fall behind. Even 30 minutes to clean the room or take a bath is too much time away from the net. The computer desk gets piled with junk, dirt and stuff and they are less willing to invite their friends over because they know their house is dirty and a mess.

3) They suddenly realize that they actually care what completely strangers think of them. Some of them never cared about other people's judgment but suddenly the comments of a stranger online entity is enough to bring them to tears.

4) They start bookmarking every profile, photo album, blog, newgroups, thread so that every update can be detected and read promptly.

5) While in the beginning they would turn the computer on to check updates in their bookmarks and would turn it off when nothing new is happening, suddenly they find themselves zapping through bookmarks waiting for something to happen. Suddenly they realize they have been sitting for hours staring at nothing, refreshing every page and waiting for something to happen. Hours are completely wasted in a sort of trance, but they cannot stop.

6) Eventually it's past bed time and the whole day has been occurred in a sort of life-wasting internet trance. But it doesn't matter, they cannot stop, they cannot turn the computer off and slowly they start sleeping less and less focusing on the screen for 5-6 hours straight. Insomnia becomes an issue but no matter how tired, the internet is stronger.

7) In the morning they're very tired. They tired their eyes staring at the screen for hours instead of sleeping. They just slept few hours and even dreaming was disturbed by the overstimulation of the net activities. Nonetheless the first thing they do once the alarm rang is turning the pc on and connecting. It's time to school and work and they are late and haven't even washed or eaten. Delays at work or schools become longer and longer and such activities get jeopardized by the internet addiction.

8) Life slowly becomes the internet and there's no awareness of what is happening in the real world. Such artificial life becomes a collection of dramas. They get self-defensive and the few rare moments they still interact with the real world, the interaction is internet like. People just don't understand how these once balanced individuals have suddenly become so polemic, vetriolic, defensive. They don't understand how debates and disagreement with online fake entities could change their personality so much. The addicts could simply not care since they don't really know these people, they shouldn't really care what these people think and none of what is going on is real, but to them is feel more real than anything else.

9) Even if they have saved few real-life activities like eating out, working, school, sport ... they find themselves more and more distracted by the thought of their internet life, internet battles and internet dimention to the point that they can't focus on the food, people, studying, work, match ... Suddenly they understand and memorize things less easily and make a lot of mistakes they never did before.

10) They start asking time off work or school, they start calling their school or job claiming they're sick or inventing some family excuse just because they can't stop what they're doing online, a chat, a debate or because they haven't slept enough at night and can't work or study without passing out. Even when they get the extra time they required because of not enough sleeping time, after the phone call to the school or work the first target is not the bed ... but the pc.

11) They find themselves racing through their walking or driving back home or their eating or whatever other activity, so they can quickly connect to the net and start existing again as their virtual alter-ego. Things like paying bills, going to the grocery store, calling a person are forgotten easily as internet takes over.

12) They start eating more and more in front of the computer. Even when they sit at the table all they think is the debate or chat they have interrupted for the annoying need to eat. No real awareness of eating, chewing and enjoying flavours exists anymore. Their diets changes more and more from real food to quick stuff you can eat at your desk and can microwave in a second.

13) Suddenly they find they have less friends, they don't see their relative so often, they have lost their girlfriend or boyfriend. They interact less and less with reality and the real people living around them become way less important than strangers on the net and their opinions and dramas. Friends are worried but just can't help but giving up and abandoning what they considered once a friend.

14) They become vitriolic and judgemental in ways that would appear inhumane. They start treating real people with the same standard hostility and defensive attitude they built in relating with entities online. They start talking and debating like encyclopedias or robots rather than humans, using the same language typical of internet debates. Real people find hard to stand them anymore and this convince the addicts once more than their real life is the virtual one they have created on the internet.

15) They stop going outside or travelling because it means being without internet and they just panick without a connection. Some of them buy laptops to be connected wherever they go and this usually results in them isolating from the rest of the world and the people around them. They feel like the evening outside was bland and convince themselves once more than they had to stay at home in front of the pc.

16) When the computer breaks and the connection dies they start having real withdrawal symptoms including heart palpitation, panick attacks, sweating and even desire to die. Once the connection is fixed the withdrawal symptoms are over and they feel good again

17) They start getting tachicardia and fear when connecting and reading a forum, anticipating someone's disagreement or insult or offense. Checking blogs, forums, newsgroups become pathological panick inducing activities. Finding the dreaded offenses and disagreement usually results in disproportionated frustration to the point of profuse crying.

18) They no longer go to vacations with friends or family. They say Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to an online community of strangers rather than someone in the real world. Vacations for them means the chance to be 2 weeks on the net without interruption: not mountains, travelling, beaches or swimming pool.

19) Some of them gets eventually fired from their job or don't pass school exams, and this just increases their internet addiction and real-life withdrawal.

20) They rely on the presence of people they don't really know, people who are perfect strangers to them, screen names without a real identity. People they will never meet and people they would never care about in person.

21) When they finally start recovering from the addiction they feel like waking up from a coma. They suddenly realize that time has passed, that the city has changed, that many friends have moved, that the children have grown up and the grandparents have aged. But to them it feels like few weeks have passed and not much "living" has really occurred.

22) Some of them recover from the addiction by being hospitalized. There they are forced to stay 2-3 weeks without a pc. What they can do is walk in the park of the hospital or socialize with the other patients and their relatives or friends. Suddenly everything feels more real. The trees, the airs, the grass, the people, the way they speak, interact, think. Suddenly they realize they have wasted years on an artificial exitence where everything is more bland and less true. Once the flavours, smells, images, sensations of real life start to touch them again they realize how profoundly they miss all of that, all which is real ... which they sacrificed at the expense of something artificial, fake and addictive ... something that really takes away precious moments and even years from one's life.

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I only got about two thirds of the way through this incredibly extensive and detailed list, but holy crow you seem to have made some good points! I think this is a very real problem and addiction in the world, yes. Interestingly, it's only been around a short time because the web has not been around very long. I had a family member that once displayed a lot of the things you mentioned. Another thing I think that contributes to this addiction is if a person is unhappy or insecure in their Real Life identity. Online you are anonymous and can be anyone you want. This also isn't the first time I've heard of internet addiction clinics before.

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sounds like a kid and video games!!!

or even how i was with guitar all my life, my mom would make dinner and i would completely forget to eat as i was figuring out how to play some joe satriani or dream theater song.

If you love something you love something, but perhaps there is a point where it is an actual addiction.

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Would it be taking the mickey to develop an online support group for recovering internet addicts?

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Would it be taking the mickey to develop an online support group for recovering internet addicts?

http://www.glasbergen.com/images/19.gif <-- haha great picture.

(Wow, the fact that I knew how to quickly access that picture proves that I'm guilty of internet addiction...)

Anyway, on topic: I think there's something to having addictions, whether to the internet, or smoking, or partying, video games, drugs, junk food, studying, or practically anything. Imagine the healthiest person you know: the one who's happiest, smartest, funniest, prettiest, etc. Chances are s/he has no addictions--they are just perfectly balanced. Often we think that their hormones or their genetics are perfectly balanced; but I think it's their lifestyle that's this way. As soon as you get addicted to something, it will adversely affect other aspects of your life, and I can't think of a single exception to this rule. Get addicted to a certain food, and the rest of your diet will start lacking. Get addicted to partying, and your schoolwork will degrade in quality. Get addicted to the internet, and your social life will be affected. Get addicted to improving your body image (acne), and then you will start missing out on life.

The solution? Moderation. If you have an addiction, there's no need to suddenly cut it out from your life, and in fact this might be bad for you in certain situations. Just cut back. This applies to pretty much everything. If you want to quit smoking, then use the concept of a nicotine patch: just smoke less often, and in less quantities, and give yourself a cigarette as a reward for working on other aspects of your life. In this way, you can enjoy the things you do, but you can also work on the things you need to do, and nothing is badly affected. You are balanced.

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Umm, what are you doing...right now?

You...yes you, reading this..?

Your suck a junkie...lol..

I am an addict, I must admit...but only when I am trying to find an , "solution", to some problems I might have...like ,uuuh, acne perhaps..lol...

Or, some other VERY VAIN REASON related to something or the other...he-he!!

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The solution? Moderation. If you have an addiction, there's no need to suddenly cut it out from your life, and in fact this might be bad for you in certain situations. Just cut back. This applies to pretty much everything. If you want to quit smoking, then use the concept of a nicotine patch: just smoke less often, and in less quantities, and give yourself a cigarette as a reward for working on other aspects of your life. In this way, you can enjoy the things you do, but you can also work on the things you need to do, and nothing is badly affected. You are balanced.

Problem with that is it's much easier said than done.

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sounds like a kid and video games!!!

or even how i was with guitar all my life, my mom would make dinner and i would completely forget to eat as i was figuring out how to play some joe satriani or dream theater song.

I think it's different.

Guitar is something mediated by the real world, the desire to create music, to duet with others, to perform and show others your talent. An artificial life is just withdrawal from the only environment where your senses can all be stimulated and used. There's a strong difference between chatting with a person or smelling her/his scent, touching her/his skin, listening to her/his voice in the ambient you're too, staring at her/his eyes. The first will always feel like a not really lived experience. Your cultural mediate sense of artificiality tells you it is real, but you're senses are telling you it is not.

An year spent talking with a person in a room is anyway real life you can clearly remember and feel passing. An year spent in a chat is like illusory time, it's like life on stand-by.

Even video games are different. I was a video games fan and this means spending a lot of time checking the computer shops with friends, playing with friends, sharing interesting articles from console magazines, going at the arcade. It was real life anyway not withdrawal from existence.

But I remember once that I played for 4-5 hours straight alone in my room with a first-person 3D game (I think it was Duke Nuken) and when I finally obliged myself to stop the sensation I felt was absolutely negative and scary. I remember feeling disorentied, nauseated, unable to tell where I really was, what time or year it was. I was nervous and jumped at whatever noise as if I was still the character defending himsel from monsters and demonds popping up everywhere. The last hours spent walking on 3D corridors seemed like "trance" time, spent in a sort of suspended dimension and I remember distinctly feeling the demarcation between real life and the potentially imprisoning artificial one.

The point is I have never heard of music as an addiction (a criteria for addiction is not only the amount of time spent doing something but the clearly negative effects of this time) and all the people I have known who spent more time playing an instrument than playing outside, don't regret a single second of how they chose to live. Internet addiction is different and I think at the foundation of its pecularity is the contrast between something that feels real intellectually and fake sensorially. I remember reading studies showing the same problem exists when first-person scenes of a roller coaster trip are shown on a big screen. There's a confusion between the mind trying to act as if you were really on the roaller coasters and the speed and risk was real and the senses trying to act as if it was just a big fake reproduction on a screen.

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I can confirm with my personal experience too.

I'm not an internet addict but sometimes I become one.

I'm an active person who likes sport and outdoor activitiies.

Sometimes I injury myself and have to stay in bed which is something I hate so I end up spending the whole time on the net.

I remember once I had to stay in bed for two weeks and mostly spent that time on the net.

When I finally was able to go out and start again my activities I recovered my rich dreams.

During those weeks spent online I felt like 10 minutes had passed between the am morning and the pm night and in the evening I felt like I had no material for my dreams. My whole day appeared irrelevant as if nothing important had happened and a whole day had been just wasted. As soon as I recovered and stop spending so much time online I felt again like every day was full and rich and at night my dreams were vivid and rich as always because each day offered a lot of material for the night.

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Would it be taking the mickey to develop an online support group for recovering internet addicts?

No, it's pretty logical.

If you're going to help people you must go where they are no matter if that place is the source of their addiction to begin with. Volunteer for alcoholics seek alcoholics on pubs and bars at night and volunteers for prostitution exploitation seek exploited prostitutes in the streets.

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I am an addict, I must admit...but only when I am trying to find an , "solution", to some problems I might have...like ,uuuh, acne perhaps..lol...

Or, some other VERY VAIN REASON related to something or the other...he-he!!

Its us self help junkies that are the worst. I mean, why don't we we try and solve our problems by dwelling on them for hours on end, looking for some kind of miracle that is going to solve all our problems and give us back our lives, the same lives that became unaccounted for around the time we started finding out and telling ourselves we had the problems that we are still looking for solutions to. I really think the internet can be worse than TV if in the wrong hands, I mean at least you can watch tv with other people, not to mention let it distract you from your problems, which I admit is no solution, but its better than putting them under a magnifying glass and making your life revolve around them. for me its not just acne either.

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Danny, YOU are the one responsible for my (org) addiction. I spend hours reading your previous posts. You got me hooked man (no homo) :ninja:

I am sure such is the case with several other members.

Kaisen

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Danny, YOU are the one responsible for my (org) addiction. I spend hours reading your previous posts. You got me hooked man (no homo) :ninja:

Whoops :shifty:

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i admit i am an internet addict and fit many of the things you listed(even though i didnt read all of them). My job did it to me though. 12 hours of doing nothing, I figure I might as well surf the internet to keep from going insane staring at the wall or something, haha.

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i admit i am an internet addict and fit many of the things you listed(even though i didnt read all of them). My job did it to me though. 12 hours of doing nothing, I figure I might as well surf the internet to keep from going insane staring at the wall or something, haha.

It's an addiction when it starts to play havoc with your life, your attitudeand your mood.

Even if you spend a lot of disproportionate time doing something, it can't be defined an addicton unless there are clearly negative consequences. The consequences of internet addiction are withdrawal from real life, lack of social life, jeopardization of school or work, panick attacks, insomnia, lack of hygienes personal and house care ...

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Well I am addicted to acne.org right now :lol:

Its just that there is such a ton of info here and to read posts from people who have the same problems and you can relate to. Frankly all these years, I didnt take my acne seriously. I never even went to a doctor for my acne unti 5 months ago and I am 28.

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i admit i am an internet addict and fit many of the things you listed(even though i didnt read all of them). My job did it to me though. 12 hours of doing nothing, I figure I might as well surf the internet to keep from going insane staring at the wall or something, haha.

That sounds like an awesome job. lol

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Stories I have been sent:

I first realized it several years ago with online gaming. Games

similar to the WOW craze right now, which I also had a hand in. I

eventually gave those up as I realized I could not handle playing them

on a controlled basis. What started as structured 2 hour a day play

periods turned into 8 hour a day and all weekend in front of the

computer. I finally threw away all of those games and vowed to never

play them again. That I have succeeded in.

Now, I have found myself drawn to "researching" on the internet.

Usually when I want to buy something. It changes ever 3-4 months. Once

I find something I will just research it to death, then once I have it

I will continue researching more stuff that might help with the

original item I just bought. Like parts or accessories for a bike I

just bought.

Or it could be some forum that I had found based on whatever interest

I have at the time.

I have heard the term "escapism" describe what I am doing. Anyway, in

a nutshell I want to get control of this addiction now. What makes it

really difficult is I am in front of the computer all day at work.

Sometimes I have thought of investigating another career to where I am

not sitting at the computer all day...

- - - -

I'm not sure where to begin. My boyfriend has been taken over by

World Of Warcraft. In the begining, I thought that it was just

something he enjoyed playing, but as the more time goes on, the more

that I see he's got a serious problem. His job, his family, his

friends have all been affected by this game. He says to me that he

wants to start working to get his life togther, but sees no problem

in playing this game for 8 to 10 hours a day. My father even tried

approaching him about it, asking him, if he wanted to work on

getting a job, transportation and so on, he said that he intends to

do that but play WoW in the meantime. But, the meantime is going

over freetime, and into all of his time. At one point, I said if I

can't beat them, join um' and asked if he would be willing to play

with me from time to time. He acts annoyed and obliged. And I just

don't know what to do. When I express my concerns to him, I get the

who do you think you are's and the WTF is wrong with you's. I just

don't know. This is so totally unlike him, he was the sweetest most

loving person I had ever met, and we were so happy. Now, he shows

zero emotion to me. Last night, I got upset over this entire

situation, was in tears. When I called him back after calming down,

I told him, I understand that this is your thing, and I'm sorry for

getting so upset about it. He yelled at me for half an hour accusing

me of trying to guilt trip him. I'm so worried I'm never going to

get that loving partner back. I don't know how to continue letting

him lash out at me. I know that he has a serious problem, and I try

to not let his behaviors bother me. But at the same time, he doesn't

see a problem, he refuses to see it. And I sit here and wonder if he

ever will. I don't want to give up on what we had and what we could

have again.

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I spend alot of my time online but it's not an addiction (in denial! lol).

I'd have to say i come under 2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15, 19.

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