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According to University of Kentucky News, the internet addiction rate in the U.S. runs anywhere from .3 to 38 percent of the population. The Internet has pervaded most every aspect of daily life. Online banking, work tasks, friend and family communications, dinner reservations and schoolwork are just a few examples. An internet addiction can easily get lost in the norm that the Internet has become as relationships, work and life in general fall by the wayside.
Internet addiction treatment approaches excessive internet use in much the same way as substance abuse problems are handled. As addiction affects each person in different ways, internet addiction treatment offers the types of services that best meets the needs of each individual. Choosing internet addiction treatment means admitting an addiction problem exists and finding the type of program that best meets a person’s needs.
Much like addictions to gambling and sex, internet addictions center around impulse-control problems. Compared to alcohol and drug-based addictions, the actual process or behaviors involved with internet addictions are the focus of the problem as opposed to a drug being the focus of the problem. Internet addiction treatment deals with the behaviors that drive the addiction.
In actuality, internet addiction is a general term that encompasses five sub-categories:
- Net compulsions (online gambling and gaming)
- Computer addiction (code programming, computer games)
- Information overload or continuous web surfing
As each of these sub-categories differ, internet addiction treatment should address the defining attributes that make up a person’s internet addiction. Granted addiction in and of itself is the same no matter the substance or activity involved, each of the five internet addiction sub-categories taps into different aspects of a person’s life and/or identity.
With the wide range of internet addiction treatment programs available, each program may offer different types of treatment services. Some programs may specialize in one or more types of internet addiction while others may treat internet addiction in general. A person’s individual needs should be the guideline when determining which program will work best.
In general, most internet addiction treatment programs offer individual therapy, group therapy and even family therapy. Support groups, both online and in-person, also play a central role within the treatment process. Both therapy work and support groups offer opportunities to address the underlying issues driving a person’s addiction and learn healthy ways of coping with them. Since the Internet is often a necessary tool in work and school settings, learning to use the Internet in moderation becomes the overall goal of internet addiction treatment.
Individual Treatment Needs
Someone who’s engaged in excessive internet use for years will most likely require a more intense level of addiction treatment than someone who’s only been at it for six months. Inpatient treatment programs provide around the clock care for people with serious addiction issues. Outpatient programs work best from someone who’s still living a somewhat functional life but recognizes a growing addiction and wants to regain control.
Treatment program staff may also have various levels of experience in dealing with a person’s particular type of addiction, which can greatly impact a person’s chances of recovery. Also important is a treatment program’s success rate in dealing with particular types of addiction.