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February 28, 2023

Are You at Risk for Internet Addiction? with Stephen Hughes, LCMHC

by Stephen Hughes, LCMHC-S

Use of the internet is a daily activity for most of us. From checking e-mail, playing a game to pass the time, to researching the latest movies, or interacting with friends on social media. The internet, in all its forms, is a common companion. Americans spend, on average, 8 hours and 5 minutes looking at a screen daily. Most of us find the internet an enjoyable and helpful tool, but all of this time spent staring at a screen can have a negative consequence.

Signs of Problems with Internet Use

The term Internet Addiction Disorder was first coined in 1996 and has been extensively studied since then. Here are 5 conditions that could suggest a problem with internet use:

  1. Preoccupied with the internet.
  2. Increasing need to use the internet.
  3. Unsuccessful attempts to control or cut back use.
  4. Feeling restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down.
  5. Staying online longer than originally intended

These five conditions often result in risking the loss of significant relationships, school or job opportunities and lying to others to hide the extent of their internet use. Mental health professionals are experiencing an increase in clients reporting these and other difficulties related to their internet use and are requesting help in dealing with them.

4 Actions Steps for Those with Internet Addiction Disorder

Chances are good that you know someone who may be dealing with it so here are some tips for addressing them.

Admit it

The first step to solve any sort of problem is to step out of the denial phase and accept that you have a problem. This is your first victory towards becoming better. By verbalizing that you have a problem, you become honest with yourself and it brings clarity to the whole situation. Also, it makes you realize how unhealthy the use of the internet is for you.

Limit Smartphone use

Digital Detox is something you can do on your own if you have the determination and strength to do it. Once you realize that internet addiction is bad for you and it is taking control over your life, you can start keeping your distance. You can limit your online session to 30 minutes. You can make some rules about not using the internet after a certain time every day. This will keep you all managed and self-controlled.


Get over the internet and share some real-life experiences. Invite over your friends and have some fun activities with them. Go out more frequently and make your loved ones your priority. Spend time with them, do what you love, and try to maintain your real-life relationships more than your internet relationships.

Keep Devices Inaccessible

If things are getting out of control and you find yourself getting more addicted day by day. You can take some serious steps by getting rid of your digital devices for a fixed time period, especially the ones bothering you a lot. It could be your gaming console, your smartphone, laptop, etc. You can ask for help from a friend and let him keep your things for a while to keep the necessary space.

Using these tips can be proven very beneficial when you are willing to get yourself out of this mess. To avoid falling into internet addiction again and again, make sure you know how to control yourself once you realize that you are getting addicted to it. Keeping your eyes and mind open is a good way of staying alert and healthy. Use these tips and make sure to follow them regularly.

If you could use professional help, visit our website to learn more about Avance Care Behavioral Health services or call 919.237.1337 option 4 to speak with a Wellness Coordinator.

Don't delay the care you need.

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