For most users, the Internet is a positive part of their lives. It is a source of news and information that makes life easier and more convenient. Not everyone has this type of relationship with the internet, however; for them, it becomes something that they can abuse in the same way that drugs, alcohol, food, or shopping become a symptom of a bigger problem and they develop an internet addiction.
What Is Internet Addiction?
Internet addiction includes any compulsive online behavior that interferes with a person’s normal life and causes stress on his or her family, friends, work or school. This form of addiction can include the following:
- Compulsive web surfing
- Obsessive game-playing
- Compulsive online gambling or trading
- Cyber-relationship addiction (online friendships made in newsgroups or chat rooms)
- Cybersexual addiction (addiction to cyberporn or adult chat rooms)
Signs Of Internet Addiction
Anyone has the potential to become addicted to the Internet. Some people who have a lot of time on their hands are particularly vulnerable, since they have ample time to spend online. A person who is lonely or going through marital or work-related issues may be looking for a way to escape for a time, and the internet offers a way to surf or interact with people anonymously or through an alternate persona.
The internet also offers those who are anxious or feeling insecure about their physical appearance the chance to interact with others in a “safe” way without having to risk a face-to-face meeting.
Other signs of internet addiction are:
- Being preoccupied with being online while away from the computer (either thinking about the last session or anticipating what the next one will be like)
- Staying online longer than originally intended
- Feeling moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to either cut down or stop internet use
- Lying to family members, friends or a therapist about the amount of time spent online
- Using the internet as a way to tune out from problems or relieving an uncomfortable mood, such as anxiety, depression, or helplessness
- Choosing to go online over a responsibility to a significant relationship with a spouse/partner, friend, job or school
Outpatient Treatment For Internet Addiction
At The Dunes, we offer internet addiction treatment in NY on an outpatient basis. Clients can get the help they need and return home in the evening. In many cases, they can continue to maintain their work or school schedules. This treatment model also allows them to get support from friends and family, which is very important to their continued recovery.
If you are concerned about your own or a loved one’s internet use and think it may have slipped into an addiction, call us now to discuss our treatment program.