Are “internet addicts” truly addicted to the internet, or is their surfing merely a symptom of an underlying condition? Experts disagree, but a growing number of psychologists and other mental health professionals support including Internet Addiction Disorder in the upcoming revision of the DSM V. They point out that the effects of internet addiction mirror the symptoms of alcohol or drug addiction, including compulsive behavior, escapism, and failed attempts to reduce or stop internet usage.

It can be easy to justify spending long hours in front of a computer screen. Many of us use the internet at work and for productive activities, such as finding coupons, mapping out destinations or looking up whether that lily my cat ate is poisonous. (answer: yes!)

Whether or not online addiction is recognized as a separate disorder, we can be concerned as to whether our internet usage is normal. The following addiction test can help you determine if your internet usage has become addictive: 

  1. Do you feel the need to hide the amount of time you spend on the internet from those who live with you?

  2. Do you find yourself thinking about the internet even when you are not using it?

  3. Have you ever declined a vacation or overnight stay somewhere because there would be no internet access?

  4. Do you feel closer to your friends on the internet than those you interact with in person?

  5. Have you ever tried to reduce the time you spend surfing and been unsuccessful?

  6. Has your internet usage ever affected your performance at work or school?

  7. Have you ever become excessively angry when your internet connection goes down?

  8. Have you abandoned hobbies or other pleasurable activities so that you can spend more time on the internet?

  9. Have you gained or lost any weight because of the amount of time you spend on the internet? (i.e. become more sedentary or skipping meals to stay on the internet)

  10. Do you retreat to your computer and start surfing when upset or to avoid confrontation?


2 or more questions answered “Yes”: Your internet usage might be problematic. You should cut back before it becomes an overwhelming influence on your life

4 or more questions answered “Yes”: You have definite signs of internet addiction. It may be time to seek professional counseling or therapy.

6 or more questions answered “Yes”: The internet has taken over your life. You should find a qualified addictions therapist and get on the road to recovery.


What is Internet Addiction?