What is Computer Addicts Anonymous?

Computer Addicts Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who, by sharing their experience, strength and hope, are seeking freedom from the compulsive use of computers and the obsession with them.

Although Computer Addicts Anonymous is a young fellowship, computers have been around much longer and, along with their undeniable usefulness, have also brought deep misery to many.

Since the early mainframes, punch card computers, and console-type computers that were using a TV set for a screen through to modern sleek electronic gadgets, people have been getting addicted to programming computers, tweaking them, working on them, playing games on them, seeking entertainment through them and generally using them.

It is not straightforward to define what a computer is in the present day. The word “computer” as used by Computer Addicts Anonymous is a generic term for a variety of interactive electronic devices including at the very least, but not limited to: desktop computers, laptop and notebook computers, smartphones and pocket computers, gaming consoles and tablets. As the consumer electronics industry continues to create new types of computing products, it is likely that more items will be added to the definition list in the future.

Computer addiction is a serious progressive disease process leading to the decrease of the quality of life of the addict and those around the addict, deterioration of physical and mental health, strained relationships, decrease of motivation and efficiency at the workplace, loss of interest in outside activities and possibly death of the addict or the addict’s dependents.

Behavioral signs of the addictive use of computers include: spending unreasonably long times using computers, repetitive checking or using of computers without a useful purpose, mental preoccupation (obsession), skipping meals or trying to divide one’s attention between eating and using a computer, difficulty interrupting or ending sessions of computer use, irritability if one is asked to interrupt a computer use session, anxiety if one doesn’t have access to a computer or the internet, neglect of relationships, skipping or neglecting outside activities and interests.

Physical signs of excessive or addictive computer use include: energy drain, mental fog, eye strain, soreness in the eyes, blurred vision or difficulty focusing, dark circles and bags under the eyes, dry skin, red or sore skin on the face, darkened skin tone, blisters, cracks or cold sores on lips, flaking skin and scalp, dry and greasy hair, shoulder and back tension or pain, hand, wrist and finger pain, leg cramps due to insufficient movement, physical and mental exhaustion and at the same time restlessness and inability to fall asleep, characteristic body odour.

There have been people who have died directly from continuous computer use over many hours and people whose dependents such as young children and pet animals have died from being locked up and forgotten in the car by their computer-obsessed caretaker.