Internet addiction can cover a wide variety of problems, from compulsions to use social network sites through to shopping, gambling and pornography. Online addiction has been brought sharply into public awareness over the last few years due to a number of concerning headlines. A recent study of over 1,300 young adults in Leeds suggested that just over 1% met criteria for Internet addiction.
The Priory offers a free initial assessment if you believe you are suffering from symptoms of an online addiction.
What causes Internet addiction disorder?
Addiction to the internet can be compared to other forms of addiction such as alcohol or drugs, in the sense that it can provide a type of escape or "high" for some users. Those with other pre-existing addictions or mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety can be more predisposed to having an internet addiction.
What are the signs and symptoms of internet addiction?
- Spending a long time in front of a computer for reasons that are not work-related
- Irritability or bad moods if access to the internet is blocked or has to be abbreviated
- Pleasurable anticipation of internet use is common, although many internet addicts see their internet overuse as a form of stress management
- Multiplayer role-play gamers may also see their usage as a form of social contact
- As the addiction becomes more severe, internet usage becomes more important than most other activities and major social problems are likely to follow
Internet and online addiction disorder types
In the UK, the most frequent categories of internet addiction, based on those who seek help, are pornography and multiplayer role-play games.
Effects of internet abuse
The following effects will become apparent to a person who is suffering from an internet addiction:
- Related depression, anxiety and mood swings
- Social withdrawal and isolation, feelings of loneliness
- Feelings of low self-esteem and fears of disapproval
- Relationship and sexual problems
- Employment or education issues that can lead to financial problems
Care and management for individuals affected by internet addiction
Once internet overuse reaches the point where it causes major problems, abstinence is the only solution. There are fellowships similar to Alcoholics Anonymous for those whose internet compulsion takes the form of gambling or pornography, which include Gamblers Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous. There are also self-help groups that deal with the more notoriously addictive role-play games, but no groups presently exist for internet addiction help.
Treatment for internet addictions at Priory
Treatment for internet addiction with the Priory Group is through a number a methods including self-help groups, abstinence and counselling. For individuals who are unable to progress with either self-help or one to one, there are also 12 step rehabilitation programmes run by the Priory.
Find out more information on the specific addiction therapies and tailored treatments we offer at the Priory.