Internet addiction disorder (IAD), or, more broadly, Internet overuse, problematic computer use or pathological computer use, is excessive computer use that interferes with daily life. These terms avoid the distracting and divisive term addiction and are not limited to any single cause.
“IAD was originally proposed as a disorder in a satirical hoax by Ivan Goldberg, M.D., in 1995. He took pathological gambling as diagnosed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as his model for the description of IAD. However, IAD receives coverage in the press, and its classification as a psychological disorder is being debated and researched.
Online activities which, if done in person, would normally be considered troublesome, such as compulsive gambling or shopping, are sometimes called net compulsions. Others, such as reading or playing computer games, are troubling only to the extent that these activities interfere with normal life. Supporters of disorder classification often divide IAD into subtypes by activity, such as excessive viewing of pornography, overwhelming and excessive gaming, inappropriate involvement in online social networking sites or blogging, and Internet shopping addiction.” (source Wikipedia)
reSTART is a 45-day treatment program out of Fall City, Washington (near Seattle) that takes 2-6 people at a time and essentially cuts them off from the web and works with them to “reprogram” their social skills. It includes work with a recreation coach, a therapist, exercise and yoga instructors, and more.
Signs & Symptoms of Computer & Internet/ Gaming Addiction
Here is what to look for (3-4 yes responses suggest abuse; 5 or more suggest addiction)
• Increasing amounts of time spent on computer and internet activities
• Failed attempts to control behavior
• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and internet activities
• Craving more time on the computer and internet
• Neglecting friends and family
• Feeling restless when not engaged in the activity
• Being dishonest with others
• Computer use interfering with job/school performance
• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of behavior
• Changes in sleep patterns
• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
• Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities