The Internet serves as a useful information resource for many people. The Internet also makes it possible to maintain social connections with family and friends. But with as convenient, helpful, and enjoyable as the Internet can be, some people may experience and addiction to the Internet and cross over to compulsive online usage.
Getting Help and Recovery
The prevalence of the Internet makes it difficult for an Internet addict to completely stop using it. Furthermore, it’s common for people to need to use the Internet to find information. Although abstinence from an addictive substance or behavior is often a recommended treatment, total abstinence from the Internet is nearly impossible in today’s world. Alternative treatment methods for Internet addiction include showing the addict methods of managing behavior. This typically includes teaching time-management skills, learning how to set goals, and using reminder cards to help the addict stay on track with achieving goals and controlling behavior. Reminder cards placed strategically around the house, on computer screens, or on gaming consoles can be helpful for remembering behavior goals.
Recognizing and admitting the addiction is often the first step toward recovery. From this point, it may help to keep a record of time spent on the Internet to monitor usage. Choosing a support person to lean on might also help an addict pull away from excessive Internet usage. An addiction to the Internet may occur if a person experiences difficulty coping with anxiety or stress. In this case, the addict might analyze how they feel before they sit down at the computer to browse the Internet. Boredom, anxiety, or loneliness are common triggers for addictive behavior. If an addict experiences these feelings, it might help to accept and confront the feelings instead of trying to cope with them through Internet usage. Therapy might help the addict cope more positively with these difficult feelings.