Patterns of addiction

Computer addiction comes under various patterns: addiction to internet browsing, programming, online chatting, game playing and tinkering. This is a non-exhaustive list: other patterns are likely to be added to the descriptions as the fellowship grows and as new computing products are created.

One computer addict may exhibit one or several of these styles of compulsive use of computers. Although not everyone addicted to internet browsing is also a compulsive game player or a compulsive programmer or chatter or tinkerer, most of the latter are also addicted to internet browsing and the general using of a computer in addition to their “favourite” style.

The questions below are in addition to the general self-diagnosis questions to help you identify patterns and triggers in your style of compulsively using computers.

Compulsive tinkering

  • Do you spend time tinkering with computers, either hardware or software or both,  as a “hobby”? More time than it serves any useful purpose?
  • Do you derive self-worth feelings from your proficiency of using computers? Do your computer skills make you feel clever, smart, intelligent or even superior to other people?
  • Do you think of yourself as being a “computer nerd” or “geek”?
  • Has anyone ever been awed in admiration at how fast you could type on the keyboard or how knowledgeable you seemed at using computers?
  • Do you feel impatient when you have to wait on a less experienced computer user? Do you take the the mouse out of their hand or put your fingers on the keyboard when they are using it and do it for them because you think they are being too slow and clumsy?
  • Do you feel impatient, irritated or anxious when you have to share the use of a computer with other people?
  • Do your feel irritated when you have to end your session on a computer in order to let someone else use it too?

Compulsive programming or working on or with computers

  • Do you endlessly find little details to improve in your work on computers, and spend unreasonable amounts of time doing so?
  • Do you check, reread or gloss over your own code or web-design or photo-editing or text editing or other computer work over and over again, more times than it serves any useful purpose?
  • Do you think about your programming in your free time, outside of working sessions? In bed at night before falling asleep? Do you dream while asleep about computer programming?
  • Do you find it hard to put pen to paper? Do you skip the analyzing and planning stages in your work and go straight into the coding or computer work stage?
  • When you start working on computers, do you feel compelled to carry on working continuously until the work is “finished”? Do you find it hard to plan and break your workflow into work sessions with clearly defined start and end times and stick to them?
  • When you get new ideas, do you find it difficult to write them on paper and make them wait until your next scheduled working session?  Do you feel compelled to drop everything and go implement the new ideas straight away?
  • Would you say that your working style is disorganized?
  • Do you derive intense feelings of excitement, stimulation and the drive to improve and do more from your computer work, rather than mellower feelings of contented satisfaction?

Compulsive game playing

  • Do you enjoy the feeling of mental immersion in the fantasy virtual environments and stories of the games? Do you take your games too seriously?
  • Do you feel compelled to continue playing continuously until you finish or win the game?
  • Have you ever pushed your limits to continue playing through mental or physical exhaustion, skin soreness, eye strain, tension or pain anywhere in the body?
  • Have you ever spent “real” money to buy virtual currency in an online game?

Compulsive online chatting

  • Do you repeatedly spend hours at a time in online chat or instant messaging with strangers or distant acquaintances who are not part of your day-to-day life?
  • Do you spend time in online chat in romantic conversations with other people despite your having a romantic partner in “real life”?
  • Do you develop emotional attachments to internet pen-pals with whom you correspond by email or instant messaging, but are perpetually unable develop a romantic relationship of depth with people who are physically present and available in your “real” life?
  • Have you ever continued romantic correspondence with and investment of time and emotions in an internet pen-pal from a distant city or different country even after it became clear that the geographical obstacle was insurmountable and the chance of the relationship turning “real” was slim or none?
  • Have you ever considered yourself to be “in a relationship” with an internet pen-pal from a distant city or different country, despite the chances of the relationship turning “real” in the near future being slim or nonexistent?
  • If you got to meet for “real” a person with whom you had become emotionally involved over the internet and began a “real life” relationship with this person, did you find that you suddenly lost interest in this person without an obvious reason?
  • Have you felt drawn to continue corresponding with other people in a romantic way over the internet even after you’ve met someone, either on or off the internet, and begun a relationship in “real life”?