- What is meant by addiction?
- What are the signs & symptoms of
- What are the signs & symptoms of Sexual
- What are the signs & symptoms of
computers/the internet addiction?
- What relationship exists between these addiction?
- What are the emotional and psychological implications?
It is the universally agreed upon that addictive disorders are characterized by:
|Recurrent failure to control a behavior|
|Increased tension prior to a behavior|
|Pleasure while experiencing the behavior|
Furthermore, every addiction has specific symptoms which must be experienced repeatedly
or over an extended period for an addiction disorder to be diagnosed.
Shopping, sexual and internet addictions are more interrelated than ever before. While
each listed addiction ha a unique set of symptoms which are outlined below, they are often
activated simultaneously in order to achieve euphoria behind the anonymity of a modem.
|Shopping or spending money as a result of being disappointed, angry or scared.|
|Shopping/spending habits causing emotional distress or chaos in one's life.|
|Having arguments with others regarding shopping or spending habits.|
|Feeling lost without credit cards.|
|Buying items on credit cards that would not be bought with cash.|
|Spending money causes a rush of euphoria and anxiety at the same time.|
|Spending or shopping feels like a reckless or forbidden act.|
|Feeling guilty, ashamed, embarrassed or confused after shopping or spending money.|
|Many purchases are never used.|
|Lying to others about what was bought or how much was spent.|
|Thinking excessively about money.|
|Spending a lot of time juggling accounts and bills to accommodate spending.|
|Frequently engaging in sexual behavior to a greater extent or over a longer period than
|Persistent desire for sexual behavior, or one or more unsuccessful efforts to reduce.|
|An abundance of time spent in activities preparing for the sexual behavior, engaging in
the behavior or recovering from its effect.|
|Frequent preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities.|
|Frequently engaging in the sexual behavior when expected to fulfill occupational,
academic, domestic or social obligations.|
|Giving up or limiting important social, occupational or recreational activities because
of the sexual behavior.|
|Continuation of the sexual behavior despite knowledge of having a persistent or
recurrent social, financial, psychological or physical problem that is caused or
exacerbated by the sexual behavior.|
|Need to increase the intensity or frequency of the sexual behavior to achieve the
desired effects, or diminished effects with continued sexual behavior of the same
|Restlessness or irritability if unable to engage in the sexual behavior.|
|Attempts to control and/or cut down on computer/internet use.|
|Being dishonest about computer/internet use.|
|Computer/internet use causes problems in some area of life (family,
employment, school/education, social).|
|Participates in behavior on computer/internet that family/significant others would not
|Increased time on computer/internet to achieve desired excitement or satisfaction.|
|Uses time on the computer/internet to escape feeling.|
|Experiences euphoria and guilt as a result of time spent on computer/internet.|
|Experiences anxiety, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, restlessness, or
depression when unable to use computer/internet as planned or when use is interrupted.|
|Preoccupation with experiences with others or shopping for new software, accessories,
|Has financial problems associated with computer/internet use, which includes buying
hardware, software and internet fees.|
(Five or more of the above indicates a problem with
It would appear that the computer/internet is to the sexual and spending/shopping
addict as a syringe (needle) is to the heroin addict. It is important to realize that
there are a few people who consider themselves "needle freaks" (i.e., addicted
to the syringe) who will inject literally anything just to use a syringe. Just as
"needle freaks" represent a very small portion of the people who inject drugs,
"computer/internet freaks" represent a very small portion of those addicted to
sex and spending/shopping.
Both adults and adolescents who get into trouble with computer/internet seem to have a
low sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Many, as adolescents, exhibit the
"wallflower syndrome." In addition, most of these adolescents are of
above-average intelligence and lack social skills.
It is advised that parents and employer who provide children and employees with
internet access as a tool to complete educational and employment tasks need to monitor the
utilization of this service to ensure it is proper.