What is Computer Addiction?
When the first personal computer was invented in 1975, its inventor, Ed Roberts had no clue how far his technology would go in the years to come. Many people viewed computers as being a great way to source information. They had no idea that computers would be used the way that they are today. Many people think that it’s common place to spend hours a day on the computer. There are jobs that require regular computer use, but an addiction can often develop unexpectedly. Computer addiction is common because so much information can be accessed within seconds. Someone no longer has to wait to find out anything that they want to know. Unfortunately, the need to know what is going on at all times can become addictive.
Internet addiction is very common in teens and adolescents. They have had access to computers throughout their whole lives and view computer usage as being the norm. Some parents used the internet to keep their children occupied when they need a break. This can lead to excessive exposure to the internet. If you wonder “Do I have a computer addiction?” there is a good chance that you may. It’s important to know that using computers on a regular basis is normal but limiting how often and for how long you use it is important when trying to avoid cyber addiction.
What Are the Symptoms of Computer Addiction?
Establishing if you or someone you love has addiction to the computer can be hard to do. Once you know what the symptoms of computer addiction are, it’ll be easier to establish if there is an issue at hand. Some of the most common issues of computer addiction are:
- Isolation – When someone becomes addicted with the computer, they often start to isolate themselves. They will be so involved with what is going on online that they become preoccupied with it. Many people with cyber addiction focus on their computers for a majority of the day by themselves.
- Disinterest in other things – When someone has a computer addiction, they often have disinterest in anything else. They want to spend every second that they can online. This can make it difficult for them to participate in other activities. It’s common for people to avoid doing things that they once loved to do because they are so distracted with online activity.
- Changes to their hygiene routine – Focusing on the computer for hours on end can often impede with someone’s hygiene routine. A computer addiction can cause people to forgo taking showers for days or forget to brush their teeth. Some people because so consumed by their computer that they won’t even get up to go to the bathroom. There have been cases where people have urinated in bottles to avoid having to take a break from an online game or internet chat room.
- Disassociation with surroundings – It’s common for someone with an internet addiction to become disconnected from the world around them. They will often lose track of time because they are so enthralled with what is going on online. Some people even lose track of the day as they play a game or search online for days on end.
- Obsessive behavior – When you notice that you or someone else cannot go without going on their computer, there may be an addiction. It’s common for people battling an addiction to feel an uncontrollable urge to check to see what is going on. If they have to go extended periods without looking at their computer for one reason or another, it can make them feel lost. Many people become angry because they aren’t able to do what they want to do when they want to. If the battery dies on someone’s laptop and they start searching frantically for a place to charge it, there is a good chance they have a computer addiction.
- Eye Pain and headaches – When someone is addicted to computers, they will often stare at the screen for long periods of time. This can cause eye strain. Eye strain often leads to headaches that can be very difficult to treat safely. Using pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen, frequently can be dangerous because it can lead to kidney and liver damage.
What is Computer Addiction Withdrawal?
No matter what addiction you face, withdrawal symptoms are common when you stop using the thing you are addicted to. Computer addiction is no different. There are many common withdrawal symptoms that people experience when they stop using a computer including:
- Anger – When someone cannot gain access to the internet, they often become very angry if they are addicted. This is because they worry about the things that they are missing out on. They are afraid that someone will be able to do something that they cannot do. They are also fearful that someone will gain access to the latest information before they do. This makes them angry because they want to be the first to know and do everything that they want to do online.
- Depression – It’s common for someone battling computer addiction to become depressed when access is limited. Many people find their happiness in the thing that they are addicted to. When they cannot get on the computer, they don’t know how to deal with normal life. Many people with computer addiction develop a virtual life that is more fulfilling to them. They often begin to become sad and depressed when they realize they haven’t built a life for themselves outside of the computer.
- Physical changes – When someone stops spending hours online, they will start to experience physical changes. This often occurs because they are spending less time sitting. Some people lose weight as they stop snacking on unhealthy food as often and start moving more. Some people gain weight because they start eating regular meals. Many computer addicts skip meals intentionally or accidentally when they are in the middle of something online.
- Insomnia – When someone stops using the computer excessively, they often have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. This is because when using the computer many people use it mindlessly. They don’t have to think about what is going on in their life. When they stop using it, all of their thoughts about life start flooding in. Their mind becomes so overwhelmed with the thoughts that it’s hard for them to sleep.
- Anxiety – Giving up computer usage can cause anxiety for some people. They have so much time during the day that they don’t know what to do with it. They get anxiety trying to figure out what they are going to do with their time. This can be a great time for people to try new activities to see what they do and don’t like to do.
What Are the Consequences of Computer Addiction?
Many people don’t realize that there could be a lot of consequences that come with computer addiction. An improper diet is common because people don’t take the time to cook healthy meals. They try to find snacks that allow them to spend as much time online as possible. This can cause strain on their heart and their body because they don’t get the exercise they need or are feeding their body unhealthy foods.
It’s also common for people to lose relationships because they can’t dedicate as much time to in person relationships as needed. Computer addiction disorder can also lead to money loss. People spend so much money trying to get the latest and greatest computers, they forget about paying their bills. Some people also become addicted to online gambling, which takes over their lives quickly.
There are also emotional consequences that arise from computer addiction. Some people aren’t able to hold conversations in person because they are so used to be able to think before they type something online. Computer addiction can also lead to someone being numb to other people’s feelings. The online games they play involve people they don’t have an emotional attachment to. This makes it hard for them to have emotional attachments to people in their daily life.
How Is Computer Addiction Treated?
There are many options when it comes to computer addiction treatment. It’s important to consider all of the options available to you before choosing one for yourself. You want to be sure that you assess how well you can control your urge to use the computer before deciding which treatment option to choose.
If you feel that you are able to limit how often you use the computer but know that you still have an issue with addiction, outpatient services may be right for you. You will go to a treatment facility a few times a week to meet with professionals to help you stay on track with your recovery. They can help to provide you with advice if you feel that a relapse is in your near future. You can also learn tips to make tapering down your computer usage easier.
If you feel that you need more accountability in order to be able to recover from your addiction, partial hospitalization may be a better option. You’ll go into the facility for quite a few hours a day many times per week. Most people go in for treatment five to seven days a week. You go to the facility during the day and are able to go back home at night so that you can continue your life as well as possible.
Addiction that seems overwhelming and uncontrollable may need inpatient treatment. You will stay at the facility during the day and overnight for an extended period of time. You’ll meet with counselors to determine what caused your addiction to begin. You can get help to make it easier to use your computer in a healthy way. This allows you to separate yourself from temptation. This can make it easier to stop using the computer excessively.
Once you feel that you have gotten a grasp on your addiction, regular group meetings may be a great option for you. Group meetings allow you to be able to talk to others going through the same things that you are going through. You can discuss hiccups that arise along the way and get advice for how to handle them. Knowing that you aren’t alone can make it easier to recover from your addiction.