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PsychWorks, Inc.

Behavioral Healthcare For The 21st Century

Addiction FAQ's

Table of Contents

  1. What is meant by addiction?
  2. What are the signs & symptoms of  spending/shopping addiction?
  3. What are the signs & symptoms of Sexual addiction?
  4. What are the signs & symptoms of computers/the internet addiction?
  5. What relationship exists between these addiction?
  6. What are the emotional and psychological implications?

What is meant by addiction?

It is the universally agreed upon that addictive disorders are characterized by:

bulletRecurrent failure to control a behavior
bulletIncreased tension prior to a behavior
bulletPleasure 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.

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What are the signs & symptoms of   spending/shopping addiction?

bulletShopping or spending money as a result of being disappointed, angry or scared.
bulletShopping/spending habits causing emotional distress or chaos in one's life.
bulletHaving arguments with others regarding shopping or spending habits.
bulletFeeling lost without credit cards.
bulletBuying items on credit cards that would not be bought with cash.
bulletSpending money causes a rush of euphoria and anxiety at the same time.
bulletSpending or shopping feels like a reckless or forbidden act.
bulletFeeling guilty, ashamed, embarrassed or confused after shopping or spending money.
bulletMany purchases are never used.
bulletLying to others about what was bought or how much was spent.
bulletThinking excessively about money.
bulletSpending a lot of time juggling accounts and bills to accommodate spending.
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What are the signs & symptoms of Sexual addiction?

bulletFrequently engaging in sexual behavior to a greater extent or over a longer period than intended.
bulletPersistent desire for sexual behavior, or one or more unsuccessful efforts to reduce.
bulletAn abundance of time spent in activities preparing for the sexual behavior, engaging in the behavior or recovering from its effect.
bulletFrequent preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities.
bulletFrequently engaging in the sexual behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic or social obligations.
bulletGiving up or limiting important social, occupational or recreational activities because of the sexual behavior.
bulletContinuation 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.
bulletNeed 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 intensity.
bulletRestlessness or irritability if unable to engage in the sexual behavior.
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What are the signs & symptoms of computers/the internet addiction?

bulletAttempts to control and/or cut down on computer/internet use.
bulletBeing dishonest about computer/internet use.
bulletComputer/internet use causes problems in some area of life (family, employment, school/education, social).
bulletParticipates in behavior on computer/internet that family/significant others would not approve.
bulletIncreased time on computer/internet to achieve desired excitement or satisfaction.
bulletUses time on the computer/internet to escape feeling.
bulletExperiences euphoria and guilt as a result of time spent on computer/internet.
bulletExperiences anxiety, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, restlessness, or depression when unable to use computer/internet as planned or when use is interrupted.
bulletPreoccupation with experiences with others or shopping for new software, accessories, peripherals, etc..
bulletHas 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 computer/internet use.)

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What relationship exists between these addiction?

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.

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What are the emotional and psychological implications?

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.

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