Do You Need Rehab for Internet Addiction?

Posted on May 16th, 2015

In this modern age, with devices constantly within reach, we all seem to suffer from some degree of obsession with being connected. Whether you check your texts or emails every few minutes instead of waiting for a notification, lose yourself and hours of time clicking on links or perusing Facebook or start to get sweaty and feel anxious when you can’t find your smartphone or tablet, you understand how easy it is to get hooked on being connected. For some people, this obsession can become an addiction. If you are contemplating your possible addiction to being online, you might want to know if rehab is right for you.

Behavioral Addiction and the Internet

A behavioral addiction, sometimes called a process addiction, is similar to a chemical addiction. You’re not getting high on an illegal drug or drinking yourself into oblivion, but you are obsessed with and addicted to a behavior. Internet addiction is a broad classification that could refer to anything online, but can also be more specific. Maybe you are hooked on Internet gaming or using social media or online shopping. Whatever your specific fix, you may have an Internet addiction.

How Do You Know If You’re an Addict?

If you’re asking the question, you probably have some degree of a problem with using the Internet. Try giving up all devices and connections for a day. Can’t do it? Try just one hour. Does doing so make you feel anxious and stressed out? Did you barely make it 10 minutes before caving in? This is one sign that you have a real problem. The signs of Internet addiction are similar to drug or alcohol addiction:

  1. You try to quit but can’t. Or, you plan to cut back your time online but find that you quickly lose control.
  2. You feel anxious, nervous, stressed out and other negative emotions when unconnected.
  3. You are isolated from loved ones because of your time spent online.
  4. You suffer real and negative consequences from spending so much time online, like ruining a relationship, and yet you still can’t stop.

Rehab for Internet Addiction

Only an expert can really tell you if you need rehab for your Internet obsession, but if you identify with the above signs of addiction, you should seek some type of professional help to make changes. You can try to make changes on your own by setting time limits and restrictions, but if you can’t, you need more help than you can give yourself.

Residential rehab for Internet addiction is not common, but it is possible. You might want to consider starting with outpatient counseling with a therapist experienced in working with people with behavioral addictions. If you find that you still can’t make the positive changes you need to, you could think about finding a residential rehab facility that can help you.

Whether you seek the aid of an outpatient counselor or go for a residential rehab program, getting that professional help is important. People struggling with behavioral addictions such as Internet addiction are not always taken as seriously as drug addicts or alcoholics, but this is a mistake. A behavioral addiction can be just as devastating as a chemical addiction. Your obsession with the Internet can cost you your job and your financial stability, your relationships, your sense of self-worth and much more. It is crucial that you think critically about your Internet and device use and decide to get help, whether that means rehab or not.

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