There has been much written and debated about the overuse and overexposure to the Internet in the U.S. With the emergence of many new technologies, we are literally connected 24-hours per day, on multiple devices no matter where we are. The Internet is everywhere in our lives and surfing the net for hours at a time has become a highly accepted national pastime.
An Emerging Addiction Threat
Though there is no official criteria established for Internet addiction, using the same standards that apply to other addictions, one can determine when Internet usage has become compulsive and unhealthy. Studies have shown that as many as one in eight Americans have exhibited signs of Internet addiction.
When a person feels more comfortable interacting with their online friends than they do with their friends in the real world - and when they can’t stop compulsively gambling, playing games and checking their social media, even in the face of negative life consequences - they may have a problem. Additionally, many find no value in their own lives and seek solace through spending unhealthy amounts of time online.
Be Aware of These Signs of Addiction
- Obsession with continued Internet use
- Deception about how much time was spent online
- Feelings of high anxiety, irritability, depression and other withdrawal symptoms when Internet time is restricted.
- Lack of control or knowledge of time spent on Internet
- Increased time online with each session
- In jeopardy of losing career, relationship or family due to usage
- Use of Internet as an escape from mental problems and disorders
Unplugging to Heal
With all addictions, a change of scenery is usually the best rehab strategy. The residential rehab program at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches offers a unique, cutting-edge therapeutic approach with Internet addicts.
Our program is designed to give patients confidence and to educate them on healthier and more productive ways to spend their time. We understand that a complete cutoff of Internet use is not only impossible, it’s not advisable. A large percentage of occupations require frequent Internet use – telling our patients to avoid all uses of the Internet might threaten their careers.
We educate patients in understanding and establishing the line between healthy Internet use and destructive use. By removing them from their everyday worlds, patients gain a different perspective and are better able to identify how their addictive Internet use negatively impacted their lives and the people they love.