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Treatments for Internet Addiction

In order to be effective, treatments for Internet addiction need to address several issues. Since the disorder is a complex one, simply deciding not to surf the Internet anymore is not going to effectively treat the problem. If the person with an Internet addiction tries to go "cold turkey" and turn off the modem, this action can trigger withdrawal symptoms.

A better way to look at treatments for Internet addiction is to help the person deal with the underlying reasons that led to the addiction in the first place. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one approach that has successfully been used to treat Internet addiction. The goal of CBT is to help the addict monitor their thoughts and behaviors and evaluate which ones are at the foundation of the Internet addiction. New thought and behavior patterns can be learned as the therapy progresses.

Another example of treatments for Internet addiction is for a therapist to work with a client to help the addict identify the kinds of things that act as triggers for their behavior. If the person understands the kinds of circumstances that lead them to use the Internet in a compulsive manner, they learn to substitute a different kind of behavior instead of going online.

A third approach to treatments for Internet addiction is to help the addict learn to set limits on their Internet use. Giving up using the Internet entirely may not be a realistic goal to strive for, since many people use it for work, school, and other purposes. Like a person with an eating disorder, the goal of therapy is to normalize the individual's behavior around Internet use. Once the person understands the effect their addiction has had on the people around them, they may find it easier to make the necessary changes to deal with it.

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