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Are you addicted to the Internet? The easy way to find out is to throw your computer out of the house for a day or two and see if you suffer withdrawal symptoms.

The Net may as addictive as gambling, according to Dr James Fearing, CEO of National Counselling Intervention Services & Executive Health Systems USA, AAP reports.

"It is similar to gambling in one sense in that it is more of a psychological addiction," he says. "It is almost like a craving in the brain where people stay on the Internet."

Dr Fearing's comments were made on at a conference in Australia on problems in the workplace, and he reckons there are already as many as 11 million Net addicts in the US.

"I believe companies are losing millions and millions of dollars because of the impact of the productivity of people," he said.

Dr Fearing believes those hooked on the Net display various signs, such as losing their ability to control themselves, or breaking promises to themselves and others.

His recommendation? Cold turkey.

"If (Internet addicts) do not have to use a computer, we really recommend complete abstinence," he says. "Literally get the computer out of the house or out of the office if you don't need it

"If you do need it as far as your day-to-day functioning, we ask that you have the people around you monitor your activities." ®

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