- Do you think about the internet all the time, even when you're offline?
- Do you feel a need to use the internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
- Do you have an inability to control your internet use?
- Do you feel restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
- Do you use the internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a poor mood (feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression)?
- Do you lie to family members or friends to conceal the extent of involvement with the internet?
- Do you jeopardize or risk the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
- Do you keep returning even after spending an excessive amount of money on on-line fees?
- Do you go through withdrawal when offline (increased depression, anxiety)?
- Do you stay on-line longer than originally intended?
If you answered "yes" to any four or more of the questions above, you maybe a strong candidate for having internet addiction. The questions above are from psychologist Kimberly S. Young's screening test outlined in her book "Caught in the Net --- How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction and a Winning Strategy for Recovery."
Signs and symptoms of Internet addiction include a general disregard for health and appearance; sleep deprivation due to spending so much time online; and decreased physical activity and social interaction with others. Dry eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and repetitive motion injuries of the hands and fingers are common.
Internet addicts may also get the "cyber shakes" when off line, exhibiting agitation and typing motions of the fingers when not at the computer.
[Reuters Health, 17 May 2006]