Therapeutic Approaches for Internet Addiction

Therapeutic Approaches for Internet Addiction

Libi Shen (Concordia University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8449-0.ch011

Abstract

The invention of the internet has brought us abundant information, convenience, connection, communication, and entertainment in the past five decades. While people enjoy using the Internet, it has also triggered negative effects. Heavy internet users become lost online, some are addicted to games and social media, and others to their smartphones and online shopping. The problem is that often the Internet addicts do not know they are addicted or, even if they do know, they do not take any therapeutic approaches to improve their conditions. Internet addiction can be detrimental to a person's mental and physical health. Since the symptoms of Internet addiction are varied and the consequences can be severe, it is essential to closely examine the treatments for Internet addiction. What approaches should people take if their family members, friends, relatives, students, or themselves are Internet addicted? In this chapter, the researcher attempts to revisit and update research on definitions, theories, models, causes, consequences, symptoms, and treatment of internet addiction.
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Background

People who are preoccupied with the internet, who are unable to control their use, and who are jeopardizing employment and relationships are internet addicts (Beard & Wolf, 2001). Approximately 420 million people were addicted to the internet in 2014 (Cheng & Li, 2014). In 2018, 3.1 billion people (one-third of the global population) used social media, which reflected a social media user increase of 13% (Mediakix, 2018). It was estimated that over 210 million people suffer from internet and social media addictions, and it damages people’s sleep because 71% of American sleep with their mobile devices (Mediakix, 2018). Internet addiction has appeared in every age group, with 73% between age 13 to 17, 71% between age 18 to 24, 59% between age 25 to 34, 40% between age 45 to 54, 39% between age 55 to 64, and 44% above 65 years old (About Addiction Facts, 2017). Approximately 64% females and 55% males were caught in the Web (About Addiction Facts, 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

SBIRT: Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment; a program used to evaluate patient quickly and to provide appropriate care.

Combined Therapy: A psychological treatment with either pharmacotherapy or electro-acupuncture therapy in treatment.

IAD: Internet Addiction Disorder; including addiction on gaming, social networking, email, blogging, online shopping, and inappropriate Internet pornography use.

PDPT: Psychodynamic psychotherapy; a talking therapy that helps people identify past issues in subconscious mind and gain insights to resolve the unconscious conflicts.

Psychopharmacotherapy: A therapy using antidepressant medication to treat the Internet addicts.

CBT: Cognitive-behavioral therapy; it consists of three approaches: behavioral modification to control Internet use; cognitive restricting to challenge and modify cognitive distortions; and harm reduction therapy to address co-morbid issues.

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