With internet culture gaining more significance in everyday life and more people regularly logging onto the internet than ever, some mental health experts are calling for investigations into a new condition: internet addiction disorder. Currently, internet addiction is not classified as an official mental illness by the mental health community as a whole, but many are calling for further investigation into the phenomenon.
As with many illnesses, the signs and symptoms of internet addiction can differ greatly from person to person. There is no set amount of time spent online that qualifies a person as an internet addict, but there are other symptoms which may help to identify the illness.
Isolations from friends and family: often times, an internet addict will eschew real-life socialization with family and friends in favor of spending time online and socializing with people online.
Losing track of time: another symptom is that addicts will usually spend more time than they intend to on the internet, even going so far as to be late for or miss appointments and events in real life. People suffering from this illness will also feel upset or anxious if their online time is interrupted.
Hiding internet use: people suffering from any kind of addiction will often feel ashamed or anxious particularly after being confronted about it, therefore another symptom is that they will try to hide their activities. Internet addicts will sometimes try to conceal their online time by erasing browser histories and lying when questioned.
Euphoric high: since addiction can trigger chemical reactions in the brain, addicts sometimes experience highs and feelings of euphoria when engaging in their addictive behavior: in this case when using the internet.
Trouble with work and home tasks: internet addicts can allow work to accumulate around them and procrastinate so that they can indulge in their addiction.