Instant Help & Other Effective Options
Before discussing options for internet addiction treatment, one point regarding addiction to the internet needs to be made…
Internet addiction is not an official psychiatric diagnosis.
Despite a growing movement to have obsessive computer and internet use included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), so far this has not happened.
In relative terms (for example, when compared to other addictions such as alcoholism and drug addiction), internet addiction is a very new phenomenon. Most of the disorders included in the DSM have been extensively researched and treated in some form for at least fifty years - and many such as depression have been studied for well over one hundred years.
In contrast, the internet itself has only been widely available for twenty or so years and the high speed access that many of today's websites and applications depend on has not yet saturated the market.
In short, excessive internet use has not been around long enough or sufficiently studied to warrant official disorder status.
Still, is there any doubt that some people spend far too much time online and that this can significantly interfere with their functioning in the "real world"?
Whether we call this internet addiction, online addition, or something else is largely irrelevant. Online habits that far exceed what most people would consider "healthy" (for example ten-plus hours per day) can have serious consequences for the addict.
Treating Internet Addiction and the Pros / Cons of Each Method
1. Individual Therapy with a Psychologist or Therapist
Treatment from a psychologist for internet addiction typically follows a cognitive-behavioral model in which unhealthy thoughts about one's online use are challenged and behavioral strategies to reduce excessive play are implemented.
Treatment can be tailored and modified to address the unique difficulties experienced by a client.
Individual treatment can address not only excessive internet use, but also any additional problems that may exist (e.g., depression, stress, anxiety, etc.).
There are few psychologists who specialize in internet addiction treatment, making it very difficult to actually find one for help.
Treatment can be expensive as the fee for a single one-hour appointment is typically in the range of $150 - $200. Treatment almost always involves at least five sessions.
2. Specialized Internet Addiction Treatment Centers
Although common in some parts of Asia, in-patient treatment centers for internet addiction are very rare in North America and Europe. They involved an extended stay at the location and intensive daily interventions (mostly of a cognitive-behavioral nature) designed to quickly reduce the desire to play.
Clients have access to multiple specialists familiar with the treatment of internet addiction.
Treatment is intense, daily, and very focused on getting results.
Some treatment centers may use unproven or extreme measures (punishment, deprivation) to reduce the desire to play.
Treatment is extremely expensive - often costing tens of thousands of dollars, making this option prohibitive for most.
3. Internet Addiction Treatment Books
There have been several books written on the problem of excessive online and internet use. Most focus on the how the internet has changed the world in which we live, describing the symptoms of internet addiction, and how it develops.
Books on internet addiction such as TechAddiction's own instant download self-help resource "The Computer, Internet, and Video Game Addiction Treatment Book" are by far the most affordable and convenient treatment option.
Readers can benefit from helpful advice from an expert if they do not have access to a specialist or cannot afford other treatment options.
Most books on internet addiction are focused on describing the problem rather than how to actually do something about it. Note that TechAddiction's workbook is very focused on motivating change, setting goals, and taking action.
Because technology advances so quickly, most internet addiction books are now very out of date (even something written two years ago is likely to be very outdated). Note that The Computer, Internet, & Video Game Addiction Workbook is updated several times per year to avoid this problem.
Given the pros and cons of these options…
If you can find and afford a psychologist who specializes in internet addiction treatment, this may be the best option. If not, internet addiction treatment books may be the next best option, with expensive in-patient treatment centers being a last-resort choice.
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