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  • jennevadomski

DO YOU HAVE AN INTERNET ADDICTION?

I wrote this blog originally back in 2009 or 2010. I should certainly write an updated version of it because if anyone thought an internet addiction was not a thing back then, certainly knows today that it is - and so many struggle with it!

 

I recently read a thread on an online (how ironic!) mother’s forum that women are more at risk than men for an internet addiction.  Most of the replies to the thread were from moms who felt that maybe they DID have an addiction.  So the question I will ask is “Do YOU have an internet addiction?

 

As a therapist, I often get calls from both men and women asking me if I think they have an addiction to one thing or another.  “My wife says I am not normal.  Is this behavior abnormal?”  “Am I am alcoholic?”  “Do I have a porn addiction?”  “Is this a fetish or an addiction?” “Do I have a gambling problem?” “Do I have a problem?

 

I will never forget Professor Amen’s statement all through my Drug Addictions classes…  “A drug is a drug is a drug.  An addiction is an addiction is an addiction.”  Most people would recognize that cocaine, marijuana, crack, and heroin are drugs.  Many even admit that cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol are drugs.  Some can see how gambling, pornography and fetishes can be drugs. But the internet? 

 

I do not answer my client’s question for him or her.  Instead, I first ask if he or she is married or otherwise in a relationship of some sort.  Someone who is in a relationship for many years or is in a committed partnership is often more stable than someone who can’t keep a girlfriend or bounces from guy to guy every other week.  But of course a romantic relationship is just the beginning.  I ask about friendships and family members, not only to see if there are support systems in place in this person’s life,  but to see if he can relate to others in the outside world (outside of his questioned “addiction”).   I then ask if he or she is working.  Once again, it is a good sign if the person has been able to hold a job down for some time.  Constantly being let go or quitting job after job often raises an eyebrow. 

 

I bring these questions to the client so he (or she) can hear the words out of his own mouth…  for generally, someone who has a serious addiction cannot seem to remain in a relationship nor can he keep friends and a job (although this is not always the case, it is more often than not true).  And then we discuss the possibility that this “issue” he has called me about may possibly be something he needs to treat and deal with as an addiction.

 

You will undoubtedly say that if someone has a gambling problem and is blowing his paycheck on internet gambling sites (just as if he was in actual casinos or gambling on the street), he or she has an internet gambling addiction.  And the man who spends hours at a time looking at pornographic photos or videos and is constantly in XXX chat rooms with others is fulfilling his internet porn addiction.  But if your constant internet use is coming in between your marriage and your children are being neglected as a result of your need to catch up on the latest “Tweets”, you might actually have an internet addiction.

 

 


 

I heard a friend of mine once say she was at a cocktail party with her husband and in conversing with a business associate, she replied “LOL” to a joke instead of chuckling!  And another friend missed her son’s PTA meeting because there was an online chat in the social networking site she frequently visits.  And once, while in a restaurant restroom, I mistakenly opened a door that was occupied only to see a grown woman sitting on the toilet texting on her phone!   Hmmm, where did the term “Crackberry” come from?

 

As for us moms, especially Stay at Home or Work At Home Moms, the internet is a means to break away from the constant calls of “Mommy!!!” and be a part of the adult outside world.  We as adults need some sort of connection and stimulation with other adults.  And remember the statement “It takes a village to raise a child”?  Many of today’s families do not have relatives close by, and the “village” has their own things to worry about.  So a mom might feel isolated and alone at times and need to chat with other moms who can relate to their lives.  The advancements in technology have both huge positives and negatives.  I can chat and share photos with relatives on the other side of the country and I can get advice from another mom who is also dealing with an infant with acid reflux.  But many people lose touch with the outside world and cannot seem to break away from their computers.

 

I take counseling calls online as well as on the phone, plus I freelance and am always writing an article or a blog of some sort.  And I am a City Ambassador for a local mother’s website, where I read and reply to the discussions online and work with local businesses to network events and contests.  Naturally, a lot of my time is spent on the computer.  Plus, I have been drawn in by the Facebook fad and am thrilled to be reconnected with old friends from my childhood.  So I often need to stop, take a step away from the computer, and totally devote myself to being Mom and Wife. 

 

I do not think I am addicted to the internet, but I do recognize that I have been sucked into internet craze, and look forward to weekends where I leave the laptop at home, or vacations when I would rather swim with my kids than write.  Personally, I think I am going to set aside one whole day per week where I do not check an email, go on a website, or write one paragraph at the keyboard.  Life goes by too fast and I want to live in this world, not live in cyberspace. 

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