Internet Addiction Treatment
Internet Addiction Treatment has got to be an art rather than a science.
Like those attending Overeater's Anonymous, (OA), who deal with over-eating through the 12 step model, how much is too much, because food is necessary to survive. More and more of our education and libraries and businesses are going to the internet, so it will be hard for anyone to abstain from internet usage like one would abstain from alcohol or drugs.
If you want a job, you are going to be online, if you want to build an online business you will be online.
Signs of Internet Addiction;
1. Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
6. Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
7. Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
8. Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?
Other Symptoms Include:
• Failed attempts to control behavior
• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities
• Neglecting friends and family
• Neglecting sleep to stay online
• Being dishonest with others
• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior
• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
• Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities
According to Dr. Kimberly Young, there are five subtypes of internet addiction;
Internet Addiction is an impulsive-control problem with several subtypes have been defined:
1. Cybersexual Addiction – Individuals who suffer from Cybersex/Internet pornography addiction are typically engaged in viewing, downloading, and trading online pornography or involved in adult fantasy role-play chat rooms.
2. Cyber-Relational Addiction – Individuals who suffer from an addiction to chat rooms, IM, or social networking sites become over-involved in online relationships or may engage in virtual adultery. Online friends quickly become more important to the individual often at the expense of real life relationships with family and friends. In many instances, this will lead to marital discord and family instability.
3. Net Compulsions – Addictions to online gaming, online gambling, and eBay are fast becoming new mental problems in the post-Internet Era. With the instant access to virtual casinos, interactive games, and eBay, addicts loose excessive amounts of money and even disrupt other job-related duties or significant relationships.
4. Information Overload – The wealth of data available on the World Wide Web has created a new type of compulsive behavior regarding excessive web surfing and database searches. Individuals will spend greater amounts of time searching and collecting data from the web and organizing information. Obsessive compulsive tendencies and reduced work productivity are typically associated with this behavior.
There are a number of internet treatment approaches developing overseas in response to the problem, but there is no commonly accepted approach to internetet addiction treatment, as no one has clearly defined the problem, although Dr. Young is making a valiant effort.
Internet Addiction Treatment
Can internet addiction treatment follow a twelve step model? Don't see why not, as OA does.
Any 12 step model involves increased awareness of thinking and feeling patterns, and choices then can be made which are more appropriately, about either food or internet use.
The first step involves admitting that you are powerless, and the second involves coming to believe that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity, and then made a decision to turn the care of my life over to the greater power, and the fourth is a fearless and thorough moral inventory, where I look very hard at my defects of character which make possible the use of the computer and internet addictively.
Just like recovery from any addiction, I will need to be vigilant in regards to my motives when I use the internet, and I am speaking as if were the recovering person at this point.
The steps continue on until we get to the maintenance steps at 10-12, but maintenance is actually all the time, with a tool like the computer, which we use continuously.
Can Internet Addiction Treatment Programs Involve Computerized Brain Fitness Programs?
I would say they could because you are using them for a specific purpose and for a delimited time, and two that really fit the bill in that regard are Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro and the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program.
Never heard of brain fitness? Then read Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan. They have culled the neuroscientific literature for hints that we can use to make our brains less addictive, and if you do take care of the pillars of brain fitness, you will be much better prepared to make wise choices in regards to your computer usage.
Those pillars of brain fitness are physical exercise, nutrition including omega 3 fatty acid, stress management, sleep, and novel learning experiences.
The best stress management tool? Heartmath, recommended by Alvaro Fernandez of Sharp Brains.
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