Although not a clinical diagnosis, Internet Gaming Disorder is identified to be a potentially uncontrolled pattern of behaviors related to browsing the internet or online gaming systems. Activities that can be engaged in excessively online that may lead to these symptoms include: excessing online gaming, online gambling, and the use of social media.
Internet addiction can be accompanied by the following symptoms:
– Loss of control over the behavior
– Getting into arguments with loved ones
– Jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational opportunity due to internet gaming
– Loss of interest in previous hobbies
– Preoccupation with the Internet
– Using the Internet to modify mood
– Withdrawal symptoms when not able to use internet/gaming console
There have been negative impacts that are associated with excessive internet use, including: impacting identify formation, change in the structure of a developing brain, poor academic or occupational performance, engaging in risky behaviors, and low quality of interpersonal relationships. Excessive internet use has also been reported to be related to depression, insomnia, social anxiety, ADHD, drug and alcohol use, and aggression in children and adults.
Types of therapy that have been found helpful in addiction are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Contingency Management (CM). Cognitive behavioral therapy addresses the interactions of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and emphasizes coping and problem-solving skills. It is often associated with changing problematic behaviors and thought processes. Motivational Interviewing has been found to be the most successful among youth and adults and uses empathy and nonjudgmental support. Contingency management includes basic behavioral management skills, such as through token or reward systems.
Some preventative measures for parents include:
– Limit technology use to 1 to 2 hours a day
– Encourage daily exercise
– Remove television from bedrooms
If you have concerns regarding your or your child’s internet use, there are many resources available to assist in the process of support and problem-solving for you and/or your child, including professional counseling. Call (215) 487-1330 or email us at Greenridge@intercommunityaction.org for more information about our counseling services, which include one-on-one therapy with a trained clinician.
– American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
– Hammond, C. J. (2016). The Role of Pharmacotherapy in the Treatment of Adolescent Substance Use Disorders. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 25(4), 685-711.
– McHugh, R. K., Hearon, B. A., & Otto, M. W. (2010). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(3), 511–525. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.012
– Petry, N. M. (2000). A comprehensive guide to the application of contingency management procedures in clinical settings. Drug and alcohol dependence, 58(1), 9-25.
– Stanger, C., Lansing, A. H., & Budney, A. J. (2016). Advances in Research on Contingency Management for Adolescent Substance Use. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 25(4), 645-659.