The Grapevine

Fight Your Internet Addiction With Behavioral Therapy

The internet offers convenience. It let's you talk to your family and friends in real time, order your food or anything you want online, watch TV series or movies, play games, manage your business and more.

This convenience leads many people to spend many hours browsing. But as you become very comfortable with the life you have inside your room, you may be developing a health problem. 

Internet addiction has been a growing concern in the recent years. Many people are having trouble managing personal and professional obligations as they are too engaged in their online activities. 

However, researchers are offering a new therapy to help people with internet addiction. A short-term behavioral therapy appeared with “strong treatment effect” during tests with men with the condition 

The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, analyzed the effect of the therapy on 143 men aged 17 to 55 from Germany and Austria. Each participant was confirmed with internet addiction determined through their gaming, social networks, pornography, online surfing or general internet use. 

The internet addiction therapy takes 15 weeks and is divided into three phases. The participants received sessions focused on the effects of addiction, psychotherapeutic intervention, prevention techniques and transition to physical life. 

At the end of the therapy, the men who completed all sessions had lower addiction symptoms, such as preoccupation, withdrawal and time spent online. They also showed improved social, work and day-to-day functioning.

"This indicates a strong treatment effect for subjects suffering from internet addiction or gaming disorder," Klaus Wölfling, lead study author and researcher from the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz in Germany, said. 

The team tested the therapy only in men since they cover 90 percent of the patients for internet addiction in clinics, Wölfling said. Depression was also reduced in most participants following the treatment, CNN first reported.

More studies are required to confirm the health benefits of the new internet addiction therapy because of limitations in the test.

The World Health Organization issued a report in 2018, which labeled internet gaming disorder as a mental health condition. Persons with the condition may show recurrent patterns of gaming for at least a year, loss of control and continued behavior despite negative consequences and distress.

Internet Internet addiction has been a growing concern with more people having trouble managing personal and professional obligations due to their online activities. Pixabay