5 tips for curbing your Internet addiction

A new study says withdrawing from the Web is similar to coming down from drugs such as ecstasy. Here’s how to avoid that crash—and reclaim your sanity.

You’re consuming a powerful drug right now. You’re going to have to face it—you’re a junkie.

Your drug of choice? The Internet.

Researchers at Swansea University found that for those who consistently use the Web, stopping such behavior creates withdrawal effects akin to coming off hardcore drugs.

Swansea Professor Phil Reed tells the Daily Mail:

“Our results show that around half of the young people we studied spend so much time on the net that it has negative consequences for the rest of their lives.

“When people come offline, they suffer increased negative mood—just like people coming off illegal drugs like ecstasy. These initial results, and related studies of brain function, suggest that there are some nasty surprises lurking on the net for people’s wellbeing.”

Last year, the latest version of the DSM—the diagnostic manual that catalogues mental health disorders—added “Internet-use disorder” as a condition for “further study,” according to Slate.

For years experts have tried to kill our fun by setting out to prove the Internet is bad for us. Therefore, I offer a few solutions to ameliorate the Web’s inherent ills:

Consider your meetings to be Internet downtime. Close your computer, and don’t bring your smartphone with you. You say you’re “taking notes,” but everyone knows you’re browsing Facebook—for a client, of course.

Do something in real life. After a particularly long online browsing sessions, do something productive offline. Go for a walk outside. C’mon, stop laughing. Seriously, go for a walk.

Diagnose yourself. Scope out NetAddiction.com to learn whether you’re showing signs of Internet addiction with this test. For example, “How often do you try to hide how long you’ve been online?” Apparently that’s not OK.

Get a standup desk. Be part of a trend The New York Times legitimized a couple of months ago, because if you’re going to be harming yourself, you might as well be standing up while you do it. You might even consider a treadmill desk.

Try deactivating (not deleting) your personal Facebook account. Trust me, you won’t miss it as much as you think you might. You can always reactivate it, but taking a break might do you some good.


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