Internet addiction made its way into the medical literature sometime in the mid-90s, though it wasn’t well defined until the early 2000s. Dr. Young reports that about 5% to 10% of the population is impacted. “That depends on the country,” she says. “For instance, in China that number could be as high as 30%.”
The Center for Internet Addiction has defined eight signs that can point to someone suffering from Internet addiction, determined through a series of yes-or-no questions. They are:
1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate the next online session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop Internet use?
4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationships, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (eg. feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?