Teen Internet Addiction is a behavioral addiction in which teens develop unhealthy behaviors of internet use, characterized by an obsessive amount of time spent on the internet. This internet use can include general use, chatting, video gaming, and pornographic sites, and occurs in such frequency that it causes negative effects in other areas of the teens’ lives, such as school work, responsibilities, and relationships. Over time, what may start out as average internet use devolves into a compulsion which teens no longer have control over. The primary goals of Adolescent Internet Addiction Treatment, then, is to decrease these compulsive behaviors back to healthy amounts, while also addressing the teens’ underlying sources of stress and conflicts which have led to them developing this addiction.
Most often, we see teens become obsessed with being on the internet as a way of escaping the real world they live in, which has sources of stress that they feel either overwhelmed or unable to deal with. Some of the common sources of stress include academic struggles, Co-Occurring Disorders, and social difficulties, and sometimes these three difficulties can be intertwined. If teens are having difficulty in the classroom, they may seek out some sort of engagement on the internet where they can “succeed” and feel good about themselves. In the case of Co-Occurring Disorders, teens may be suffering the symptoms of an onset of Mental Health Illness, such as Depression, Anxiety or Bi-Polar Disorder. In an effort- which may or may not be conscious- to hide these symptoms from others and/or escape from the feelings themselves, they may seek refuge in the other world of the internet. Many teens also struggle from social struggles, including bullying, trouble making friends, or experiencing like they don’t belong. This discomfort among peers can lead to strong symptoms of Depression, as well as a powerful urge for teens to withdraw from social situations, in order to isolate themselves from these intimidating situations. In these cases, the internet world provides another place where the teens can take on a new identity and succeed, while also “hiding” who they are from others.
Because of the connections this disorder has numerous connections to other aspects of the teens’ lives, Teen Internet Addiction Treatment incorporates a number of different approaches and methodologies to address where the behaviors have come from. And then, while supporting teens to address these underlying experiences, they help teens move forward to develop new health habits and stress coping mechanisms.
About the author – Robert Hunt is a recovering addict of 20 years. He has devoted his life to helping others suffering from chemical addictions as well as mental health challenges. Robert maintains many blogs on drug addiction, eating disorders and depression. He is a sober coach and wellness advocate and a prominent figure in the recovery community.