The internet has become one of the most widely used information/communication mediums of our generation. While the internet is an invaluable resource when it comes to work, education, entertainment, and communication, it can also be harmful to our health if we find that we are unable to live without it.
An internet addiction can be a particularly difficult addiction to overcome due to the fact that many of us need to frequently use the internet for school and work; this makes reduced use difficult. In addition, because of the internet’s many uses, there are many specific addictions that require unique treatments (gaming, social networking, pornography, etc.).
Internet addiction has similarities to serious binge or overeating disorders because, unlike mood altering drugs which one can treat with complete abstinence, it is not realistic to completely avoid eating or using the internet. Recovery requires a specific process whereby the addict learns techniques to help ensure that there is a particular plan to limit internet use sensibly.
There are technical interventions that can also make it substantially more difficult to deviate from a pre-arranged and specific use for a limited amount of time. This is often done with a therapist and/or a 12-step sponsor, who helps individuals set reasonable goals and put controls in place that make it far more difficult to relapse.
Since Internet addiction takes many forms, and since it is a relatively new addiction in modern society, not enough is known as to the ideal way to treat it. It is extremely difficult to kick this addiction, but without taking action, an internet addiction can cause alienation, conflict, financial, relational, social, physical and psychological problems.
Please feel free to contact me if you, a friend, or a family member is struggling with internet addiction and think psychotherapy may be an appropriate step to recovery.To see the books I recommend on internet addiction, please go here.