What is internet use disorder?
by Janice Killey
There’s been much discussion in the media lately about the emerging problem of internet addiction. Whether it’s gaming, gambling, pornography, staying connected socially or seeking information, Internet Use Disorder or IUD is now a recognised addiction which is growing rapidly and affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.
A person with IUD will experience preoccupation with the internet or internet gaming, withdrawal symptoms when the substance (internet) is no longer available, the need to spend more and more time on the internet to achieve the same high, loss of other interests, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and use of the internet to escape feeling depressed or anxious.
Recent studies have found that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) may be one effective method to treat IUD. This form of psychotherapy teaches people how to replace the damaging thought and behaviour patterns that plague them with healthier, more productive ones.
When people with internet addiction were taught how to apply CBT to their internet use problems, they reported improved well being and less of the offending behaviour, internet use.
Do you, a friend, or someone in your family have an Internet addiction? Symptoms can include:
• Failed attempts to control behaviour
• Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities
• Neglecting friends and family
• Neglecting sleep to stay online
• Being dishonest with others
• Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behaviour
• Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
• Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities
Like any addiction, if Internet Use Disorder is having a detrimental affect on your life, relationships, health and wellbeing, seek professional help.
Janice Killey is the principal psychologist at Life Resolutions Kogarah and Leichhardt practices in New South Wales. She and her experienced team of psychologists use a variety of proven therapies including CBT to treat Internet Use Disorder. Other counselling areas include; child and adolescent issues, couple counselling, post-natal depression, parenting issues, anxiety, depression, anger management, drug and alcohol and other addictions.