Despite being an intervention of the current era, the internet has become an indispensable part of our lives. It has a short history, yet has an immense impact on how we live our lives. Everything from entertainment, science, sports, school homework and even a plethora of porn, gaming and gambling sites connected with the internet.
Though it has many benefits, the unmonitored and excessive use of the internet may cause one to become addicted. This can lead to numerous problems, mainly mental health concerns. Internet addiction is a real issue and can have a magnitude of negative consequences in our lives.
You can define an internet addiction as a level of internet usage that damages relationships, psychological well-being, and brings about many family, interpersonal or professional life-related problems. In simple terms, it’s internet usage which has a seriously negative impact on our life.
What are the symptoms of Internet Addiction in Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, CA?
Although, regular internet usage is not an addiction. But there are some indicators that can show when you are exceeding a healthy limit. Following are some of the symptoms of internet addiction.
- You spend most of your waking hours online. Even when you don’t need it, you still find yourself browsing through the web. You are unable to healthily live without the internet.
- You don’t engage in other physical activities that you once found enjoyable. You also face anger or agitation if you are asked to move away from the device of your choice.
- You face physical problems such as fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, pains due to lack of movement, unintended weight gain or weight loss.
- You experience a change in your appearance and behavior, and no longer pay attention to hygiene, grooming or health.
- You have memory impairment issues and find it difficult to properly concentrate on important things.
- Socially, you have isolated yourself from others and have an irritable mood, academic difficulty, employment problems etc.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Psychotherapy Treatment Approaches for Internet Addiction in Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, CA
Among different choices for treating Internet Addiction, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is chosen as the treatment of choice by many mental health professionals. This treatment is based on the premise of how our thoughts determine our feelings. It helps people become aware of their thinking and identify what triggers their addictive tendencies.
Most importantly CBT helps you develop new ways of coping and how you can prevent a relapse. In the initial phases the therapy focuses more on the behaviors and situations where these impulse control problems cause most difficulty. Then as you progress, the focus shifts to the cognitive distortions and negative habits that you have developed with time.
The reason why mere abstinence is not enough for treating Internet addiction is because the internet has become such a vital part of our lives and we cannot just simply ignore it. The Internet should not be avoided, rather it must only be used for legitimate reasons while monitoring and avoiding problematic factors.
CBT is also used for dealing with destructive thoughts often associated with addictions. Addictions deliver a form of satisfaction no matter how dangerous they are. These pleasures make people behave more intensely with their addictions. In an internet addict’s situation, they turn towards the internet to find relief for the tensions and agitations present in their lives. In such cases, internet addictions are more of a tool to find escape from life’s problems rather than for pleasure alone.
Internet addicts also suffer from a variety of cognitive problems such as negative core beliefs, excessive stress, overgeneralizing and many other concerns. Given such dynamics, CBT is the ideal therapeutic approach for dealing with such concerns.
CBT for internet addiction includes the following phases:
Phase 1: Behavior Modifications
First and foremost, it focuses on the person’s current use of the internet through daily logs to determine what triggers the online bingers. The time spent on the types of internet uses such as porn, email, chatting, web surfing etc. are also monitored. This assessment helps determine which high-risk factors can lead to excessive use and aids in setting proper goals for the future.
Assessing and filtering such problematic factors is the first step towards treating these addictions. It helps people detach themselves from their computers to disrupt destructive patterns by using programs that block or limit such use.
Phase 2: Cognitive Restructuring
This phase focuses on the psychological triggers that initiate internet addictions. Maladaptive cognitions such as overgeneralization, selective abstraction, personalization, magnification, rumination etc. An internet addict might believe that their life is worthless offline, so they resort to the internet for validation. Such thoughts can magnify and motivate a person’s internet addiction.
CBT uses cognitive restructuring to break these thought patterns. It helps addicts identify and rationally evaluate their beliefs. By doing so, people find healthy ways to cope with their real underlying problems and develop self-esteem in a healthy way. This identification will also help you recognize when you are involved in such a pattern and help see addictions for their true nature so you can detect and discontinue.
Phase 3: Harm Reduction Therapy
This phase identifies and reforms any harmful coexistent factors related to the development of internet addiction. Such as personal, social, situational, or occupational issues. Often stopping the internet addiction is not enough to say “I’m recovered.” Complete recovery means understanding and evaluating the real underlying issue causing these addictions.
Internet addiction often stems from other emotional or situational problems like depression, anxiety, relationship troubles, marital problems, career difficulties etc. The Internet just provides an instant escape for these problems. The real recovery lies in identifying these prevalent issues that cause such behaviors in the first place and works towards solving them.
Conclusion for Internet Addiction Treatment
Internet addiction is a real problem and can have serious impacts on our quality of life. However, CBT is an excellent way to tackle not only the addiction but the underlying problems that cause this problem to prevail in the first place. If you find yourself under the influence of internet addiction, then reaching out for therapy will not only help your addiction but also the emotional issues that cause it in the first place.
Receiving Internet Addiction Counseling Services at Reconnect Relationship™ Therapy, in Beverly Hills & Laguna Beach, CA
Reconnect Relationship’s network includes specialist therapists and psychologist referrals offering internet addiction counseling in Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, CA.
Call us for a chat to see how we can assist you with improving your internet addiction management or someone you know who needs some help and support, or complete our Drop Us A Line form to make an appointment.