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Internet Addiction Is A Real Thing, And These Signs Can Help You Detect It

If screentime is stressing you out, you should seek help.

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Even though internet addiction hasn't been officially recognized by the psychiatric community, it's a real issue that can affect anyone.

Many medical experts are making the case to recognize internet addiction as a disorder. It's not that you can't be addicted to the internet — there just needs to be a lot more studies until the classification is official.To clear up a few questions, BuzzFeed México spoke with Hugo González Cantú, who is the coordinator of the addiction clinic at Mexico's National Psychiatry Institute. He identified10 symptoms to look out for if you feel like you might actually be addicted to the internet. If you're experiencing one or more of these signs, talk to a medical professional to see if you may have internet addiction.
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Many medical experts are making the case to recognize internet addiction as a disorder. It's not that you can't be addicted to the internet — there just needs to be a lot more studies until the classification is official.

To clear up a few questions, BuzzFeed México spoke with Hugo González Cantú, who is the coordinator of the addiction clinic at Mexico's National Psychiatry Institute. He identified10 symptoms to look out for if you feel like you might actually be addicted to the internet. If you're experiencing one or more of these signs, talk to a medical professional to see if you may have internet addiction.

1. You're spending too much time gaming or gambling online.

The most addictive manifestations of the internet are video games and gambling sites. Like drugs, both activities stimulate the reward networks in the brain, causing similar addictive behaviors.
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The most addictive manifestations of the internet are video games and gambling sites. Like drugs, both activities stimulate the reward networks in the brain, causing similar addictive behaviors.

2. You're compulsively seeking to be online.

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When you're not online, you're thinking about it.

3. You easily lose control — as well as a sense of time.

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If you're telling yourself "I'm only going to go online for an hour," and then end up spending the whole day online, it may be a sign that you're addicted.

4. You feel bad when you're not online.

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If you're anxious or in a bad mood and you can only think about going back online, you might be showing symptoms of withdrawal.

5. Being online feels really, really good, as if it's some kind of relief.

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Addictive behavior stimulates reward circuits in the brain. Many things do, like food or sex, but supernormal stimuli, like drugs, can generate dependence for the user.

6. Your online behavior is causing personal or financial problems.

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When you spend so much time online that you stop tending to the most important parts of your life, you need to start paying close attention to your behavior.

7. You're suffering from anxiety, depression or insomnia.

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This isn't necessarily a surefire way to tell, though, since these same symptoms can be either a cause or consequence of an addiction.

8. Your performance at work is suffering.

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When you spend all night online and all day thinking about being online, your professional performance will decrease considerably. And that's an important sign to look out for.

9. You experience a lack of appetite.

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Of course, a lack of appetite can be caused by a wide range of things, including various types of addictions, so it's always a good idea anyway to talk to a doctor if your usual eating habits and appetite seem out of whack.

10. Or you're starting to forget to take care of yourself.

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Especially if you're forgoing basic hygiene and personal care.

If you identify with any of these signs, it's a good idea to seek professional help.

Addiction often accompanies other disorders that enable its behavior. And while overcoming an addiction is difficult, it's very much possible with the help of a team professionals and therapy.
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Addiction often accompanies other disorders that enable its behavior. And while overcoming an addiction is difficult, it's very much possible with the help of a team professionals and therapy.

Because at the end of the day, no one knows you better than yourself.

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The old adage rings true: the first step is to recognize that you have a problem.

Always check with a doctor when you have concerns about your health and well-being. BuzzFeed's posts have a merely informative purpose and they're not substitutes for medical diagnosis, treatment or counseling.

This post was translated from Spanish.

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