Compulsive Internet Use and Gaming
The internet is everywhere—we can get online from smartphones at nearly any time, anywhere. This becomes a problem when your need to be on the internet gets in the way of your daily life, causing negative physical and emotional changes. Known as Compulsive Internet Use, Internet Addiction, Smartphone Addiction, and Gaming Addiction, these disorders take hold of the brain much the same way gambling can—by creating a dependency on a behavioural process.
Young people who are struggling with shyness and social anxiety may be predisposed to compulsive internet use and excessive gaming. Activities like multiplayer online roleplaying games have no definitive limits or conclusion—making it difficult for some to reduce the time spent engaged in the activity when it becomes a dominant force their life.
How Do You Know If It’s a Problem?
It might be time to seek professional help if, despite your best attempts, you are unable to cut back on the amount of time you spend online or gaming. There are other signs that the time spent on your smartphone, computer or involved in gaming could have become unhealthy:
- You get irritable or moody when you try to reduce the time you spend online or gaming
- You use games or the internet as a way to escape from other feelings of anxiety or depression
- You are experiencing physical pain in your head, neck, back and/or hands from excessive gaming, chatting, or web surfing
- You get anxious if you are without a connection to the internet
- Your sleeping patterns are irregular and disrupted because of the time you spend online
- Your weight has fluctuated and your nutrition is poor—you skip meals or eat at unusual times
- You’re spending an increasing amount of time alone, or with online friends, rather than connecting with others in real life
- You find it difficult to keep appointments or stick to your schedule because of the time you spend online
- You lie about the amount of time you spend on the internet or gaming, telling others that it’s less than it really is
If friendships, family relationships, school, work, and your image of yourself are being affected by the energy and focus you put into being online, it could be time to look into pressing the reset button on your relationship with technology.
What Treatment Is Available?
In treating compulsive internet use, total abstinence is not the intended goal. At The Edge, we believe in helping participants develop a healthier relationship with the technologies that are part of our society. Physical activity—of which there are a number of options to engage at The Edge’s state-of-the-art fitness facilities—is one of the most effective ways of addressing compulsive internet use and gaming. Among other benefits, it helps to kickstart the production of feel-good endorphins in the brain.
At The Edge, we are able to provide holistic treatment on-site at our relaxing, resort-like inpatient centre. This means offering cognitive behavioural therapy, individual and group therapy, and physical activity designed to build confidence, strength and focus. Our fully accredited counsellors tutor and train participants as they pinpoint and practice new coping mechanisms to help manage their condition. Participants will be able to share their experiences with others in group sessions, building new relationships with peers facing similar challenges and finding camaraderie as they move forward toward greater personal growth and sustained behavioural change.
Through individual and group counselling, our professionally accredited staff at The Edge also treat co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression, in order to get at the deeper reasons why you excessively rely on your smartphone, computer, or gaming consoles.
Call us today, and learn how to reconnect to your life with renewed focus, energy, and drive.