When we talk about rehab clinics, therapy sessions and support groups, it often conveys an image drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or maybe sex addiction.
But what about internet addiction?
It may be less immediately damaging than the above examples, but in today’s society, it’s growing rapidly.
Rehab clinics need to be ahead of the game when it comes to following research around this topic and finding the most effective solutions.
But how worried should we really be?
Let’s take a look:
What is Internet Addiction?
Whereas once, not so long ago, we needed to sit at a particular desk in a dark corner of the house, turn on the computer and wait for it to dial up in order to browse the internet, nowadays people can research information, find a date, browse social media, or even work, all from the small rectangle we all carry in our pockets and can’t seem to keep our hands off.
While this has been a positive for society in many ways, increasing communication and the sharing of information, it also comes with a variety of negatives.
Not least, is that using these devices causes a reward loop, which can lead to long-term addiction forming.
Internet addiction can take a variety of guises – for example, some people may be addicted to online shopping, some may spend all day on social media, while others might be addicted to online gaming. It could also be much more general – some people are addicted to simply being on the internet, and could do all of the above activities and more throughout a normal day.
Internet addiction disorder was first categorised in 1995 and is the name given to the condition when internet addiction starts to have a debilitating effect on a patient’s life and relationships. Internet addiction and depression also have a close connection, likely due to sufferers spending less time outside, getting natural sunlight, exercising, and maintaining face-to-face relationships.
Internet Addiction Symptoms
If we are to learn how to deal with internet addiction as a society, the first thing to look at is how it affects people, and how it can be detected. So what are the symptoms of internet addiction?
They can include:
- Defensiveness or lying about internet use
- Back pain
- Neglected personal hygiene
- Carpal tunnel or repetitive strain injuries in the wrist
- Weight gain
- Anxiety, especially social anxiety
- Headaches or issues with vision
- Bad nutrition and dietary habits
- Avoidance of work or household chores
- Mood swings or irritation
Of course, further symptoms can be experienced depending on the specific nature of internet addiction. Somebody addicted to online gambling is very likely to experience financial issues, somebody addicted to online pornography is very likely to experience issues around real life intimacy, etc.
How Common Is Internet Addiction?
Of course, we also need to look at internet addiction statistics as well as ask ourselves “what are the causes of internet addiction?” in order to understand how major of a threat this is on a societal level.
A Stanford University study in 2008 found that at least 1 in 8 people surveyed had some issues related to internet use. Considering their ubiquitousness in our daily lives, this shouldn’t be surprising, but for some people this goes much further.
A study in China found that 11% of students had internet addiction related problems, whereas other studies have suggested that in the teenage, pre-adult age bracket (11-17), this number could be as high as 75%.
The fact is, there are so many different types of internet addiction, and so many different societal approaches to it, that it may be impossible to ever get accurate statistics.
However, the one thing that is sure, is that it’s more common than we likely expect, and as online companies find more and more ways to find their content appealing, the issue is continuing to grow along with the exponential growth of the internet itself.
How to Stop Internet Addiction
The question of how to control internet addiction can be a complex one. After all, just like any other form of addiction, the first and arguably the most important steps are:
- Admitting you have a problem
- Genuinely trying, and wanting to solve the issue
Both of the above can feel near impossible if a person genuinely appears to enjoy using the internet more than most other activities, but unfortunately this is necessary for a real recovery.
Some tips include:
- Limit internet use to a specific time period. There are even smartphone apps and computer time devices that can enforce this for you.
- Take an interest in the world around you, including nature, and consider going for a long walk for no reason other than enjoyment. For many who suffer from internet addiction, this has never been considered a real option, but the associated sunlight and endorphins can encourage you to be more interested in such activities in the future and crave being indoors less
- Only use the internet for specific tasks that you know you need to do. “Just browsing” or “just messing around because you have nothing else to do” is a waste of time and enforces bad habits
- Consider getting professional help. If you suffer from internet addiction but none of the above tips seem to help, there are hotlines, therapists and rehab clinics ready and waiting to help you. While it may seem like they are focused on drugs and alcohol and unprepared or unwilling to help, internet addiction disorder is growing rapidly and any good rehab facility will have a well-developed strategy.
Internet Addiction Treatment
Here at Rehab Clinics, we spend a lot of time and effort researching the latest studies and how to treat internet addiction is the most effective ways possible.
We have a 24/7, judgement-free hotline ready to help you, so why not give us a call now on 0800 118 2892?
We are also able to offer:
- Home treatment plans with no need to attend a rehab clinics
- GP consultations and access to nurses and therapists
- CBT sessions, support groups and advice
- Fitness training and nutritionists to bring back your energy and excitement for life
- Recommendations for internet-usage limiting devices
- Advice on local NHS and private treatment options
So why not give us a call now? It’s obligation-free, judgement-free, and may just change your life!