The latest statistics from Internet World Stats shows just over 7 billion regular Internet users in 2013. Since the turn-of-the-century, the number of Internet users has risen more than 566% worldwide, so it should be no surprise that compulsive and addictive behaviour relating to Internet use is also on the rise.
While it is true that the benefits of the Internet have propelled modern society into areas never before considered, it is also an arena that can easily lead to compulsive and addictive behaviour. Individuals can also be addicted to video gaming, be it online or off.
The harmful nature of Internet and gaming addiction is often observed in broken relationships and financial collapse. Unfortunately, the newness of these types of addictions makes them a bit more difficult to identify than traditional addictions to chemical substances. Nonetheless, everything needs to be done to treat those suffering from such problems.
Our mission is to make sure everyone who contacts us gets the help he or she needs. We work with clinics and other service providers in Essex, England and across the UK. We can assist you with your Internet or gaming problems if you are willing to get in touch with us.
The vast scope of the Internet offers plenty of opportunity to develop addictive behaviour. Internet addictions can take many forms including:
obsessive web surfing
obsessive online chat
obsessive news consumption
obsessive social media use
regular Internet gambling
cybersex and pornography.
For the remainder of this discussion we will focus on things like obsessive web surfing and social media use. We have dealt with gambling and sex issues in other sections of our website. In light of that, let us talk about Internet addictions from a clinical standpoint.
Back in 2012, the American Psychiatric Association embarked on a project to revise their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V), the standard for diagnosing and treating mental illness. They proposed including Internet Use Disorder (IUD) as a recognised addiction requiring specific treatment.
The disorder, known in the UK as Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), is now a generally accepted diagnosis among mental health and addiction experts. It is a diagnosis offered when an individual patient meets a certain set of criteria. You may be suffering from IAD if you exhibit any of the following signs:
frequently losing track of time while online
overwhelming and frequent desires to be online
gradually reduced ‘in-person’ social interaction
gradually increasing isolation
feelings of guilt or defensiveness related to Internet use
chronic physical problems related to prolonged computer use.
If friends and family members have approached you regarding excessive Internet use on your part, take that as a warning sign you may have a problem. Any combination of the signs listed above indicates their concerns are probably valid.
A gaming addiction is similar to an Internet addiction except that it focuses primarily on video games. While some organisations prefer not to use the term ‘addiction’ when talking about gaming, we continue to use it because it provides the most clarity. An addiction is defined clinically as any behaviour that is practiced compulsively despite knowing of potential negative consequences. Excessive gaming certainly qualifies if it meets the criteria.
Some of the signs of addictive gaming include:
playing for long periods of time, even when not enjoyable
forgoing sleep, food, work and relationships in order to play
being secretive about gaming practices
guilt associated with purchasing software
increased irritability when away from the gaming environment.
Similar to Internet addictions, a gaming addiction will often result in family members and friends approaching you about your game-playing habits. If their concern is irritating to you, you may have a problem. Lying to family members and friends about your gaming habits is further evidence you need help.
Internet and Gaming Addiction: Help Is Available
The good news for both Internet and gaming addicts is that help is available throughout England and the UK. We work with clinics in Essex, as well as all over the country, to provide effective treatment proven to help those struggling with these issues. We want to help you as well.
Treatment for these two behaviours involves two basic components: behavioural therapy and what we like to call ‘digital detox’. Both are necessary if long-term success is to be achieved.
What we call digital detox is nothing more than separating yourself from Internet or gaming activity. By abstaining from such activity, you are allowing your mind and emotions to reconfigure themselves to normal functioning. It can be somewhat uncomfortable, but it is necessary to the healing process.
As far as behavioural therapy is concerned, the most commonly used treatment is known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This therapy aims to identify what triggers your compulsive behaviour and will develop strategies to help you avoid it in the future. The main advantage of CBT is that it is goal-driven rather than being open-ended. Most patients can complete CBT in 12 to 15 sessions.
Please understand that your attitude and commitment is largely responsible for determining whether your therapy will succeed or not. Your internet and gaming addiction is no different from a chemical addiction in the sense that only you can change your behaviour.
Call Us Today
If you have reached a place where you are finally ready to take your life back from the Internet or your gaming habits, you have come to the right place. Trained counsellors staff our free-phone helpline 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They are waiting to hear from you right now.
When you call, we will use every resource at our disposable to find and access the treatment you need. As mentioned earlier, we work with private clinics in Essex and beyond. We also have access to programmes offered by community-based organisations and the NHS. Whatever it takes to help you, we will make it happen. All you need to do is call us right now.
Forbes – http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/10/02/the-new-mental-health-disorder-internet-addiction/