How to Stop Internet Addiction

While most people are familiar with the traditional forms of addiction that include drug and alcohol abuse as well as behavioral addictions such as gambling. Today, there are thousands of people who suffer from being addicted to the internet.

What is Internet Addiction?

In essence, internet addiction is a behavioral addiction similar to gambling in that a person compulsively uses the internet to play games, gamble or check on their email or social media status. While millions of people use the internet daily, those who are addicted do so to the detriment of their friends, family and in some cases their own health and wellbeing. The addictive nature of the internet pulls people in and helps create a world that thousands cannot do without.

How to Stop Internet Addiction 

Fortunately, beating an internet addiction can be done through simple behavioral therapy that can help you get back to a normal life. However, it may not be easy if your job requires you to be on the internet for several hours a day. The good news is that beating an internet addiction is possible for virtually everyone.

Understand the Problem: Arguably the most important step where you recognize how the internet helps you deal with stress, anxiety or even depression. Those who are addicted go online when they are stressed to find relief and comfort much like alcoholics start drinking once they undergo similar feelings.

Turn the Addiction Around: Once you understand that you suffer from an internet addiction, it is time to build healthy coping skills so that you can undercut the anxiety or stress that is felt which drives you to the computer.

Build a Real Life: The more you network with friends, the less you’ll be on the internet. Start by dedicating a small amount of time each day to talk to friends or family face-to-face and then build on that time daily. You can play board games, read a book or find other healthy activities starting a little bit at a time.

Of course, taking such action does not have to be done all at once. For most of those who developed an internet addiction, it developed a step at a time. This means that treating and overcoming the addiction must also be accomplished on a day by day basis. You can start by keeping track of your internet usage through a daily diary. Separate what you must do for work-related purposes from the time that you spend on non-essential activities.

After a week or so, you should start seeing patterns in your behavior of when you use the internet more or finding the triggers that help you stay online for far longer than necessary. Once you have seen the pattern from your diary, the next step is setting simple, obtainable goals to help curb your time spend on non-essential internet activities.

Many people reward themselves for time spent off the internet by playing board games, going out with friends or engaging in other activities that pull the away from their computers or mobile devices. While it may be impossible to leave the internet due to work constraints, you can overcome an addiction by keeping your time online in the proper perspective.

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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