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Internet Addiction InterventionInternet addiction is a relatively new problem made worse by continuing technological advancements. U.S. researchers have studied the addiction for nearly two decades and have concluded that it is a serious problem that requires professional treatment.

What Is Internet Addiction?

Like other addictions to behaviors, Internet addiction is considered a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder. Individuals with this type of disorder are constantly tempted to do something that is harmful to themselves or others. The American Psychiatric Association will include Internet Use Disorder in its soon-to-be-published Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Individuals with an Internet addiction go online to perform certain tasks, so it often interferes with social and physical aspects of their daily lives. According to a 2008 article in the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP), the following three subtypes of Internet addiction are as follows:

  • Excessive gaming
  • Sexual preoccupations
  • E-mail/text messaging

All of these subtypes are dangerous and can cause debilitating problems.

Signs of Internet Addiction

According to Jerald J. Block, author of the AJP article, a person will experience a variety of problems when he becomes obsessed with Internet activities. The addiction commonly leads to the following problems:

  • Excessive use—Someone who uses the Internet may neglect basic drives, such as the desire to eat, if she spends too much time online
  • Withdrawal—An Internet addict will feel angry, tense or depressed when he cannot access a computer or the Internet
  • Tolerance—An individual will invest more resources in going online, such as buying better equipment and software and by spending more and more time online
  • Negative repercussions—Addicts will endure growing consequences to spend time online, including arguments with others, lying to others about the amount of time they spend online, poor performance at school or work, social isolation and fatigue

If you notice any of these problems, consider getting help for an addiction.

Performing an Internet Addiction Intervention

Family members and friends may feel helpless to address the time someone spends online. When it is clear a person’s online time overshadows other aspects of her life, a group of concerned people can confront her about the problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following key functions should happen during an intervention:

  • Participants should offer the addict some examples of his destructive behaviors as well as how they affect him and others
  • A prearranged treatment plan should be offered. It should include goals and guidelines for someone to get help.
  • Each intervention participant should describe what she will do if the addict refuses treatment

With the proper help, you can help your loved one overcome an Internet addiction.

Help Finding Internet Addiction Treatment

An Internet addiction often causes serious emotional distress, such as depression. If you or a loved one needs treatment for an Internet addiction, please call our toll-free helpline today. We help people overcome addiction with emotional and physical support that promotes recovery. Call our 24 hour helpline right now. Do not hesitate to reach out for more information.