Internet addiction, understandably, is a relatively recent phenomenon, and as a result resources for treatment are less numerous than the equivalent resources for treating more widely known addiction disorders. Taking the decision to seek help is always a big step in any case of addiction, and finding treatment may be a daunting prospect even without the challenge of locating the right resources for such a comparatively niche disorder. However, we can help make this process much easier; let our addiction specialists assist you in finding the treatment you need and begin your journey to recovery today.
A good rule of thumb is that if you are concerned enough about your internet use to feel it may be becoming a problem, is probably already is… However, there are a few key signs which may indicate that your level of internet use is indeed problematic. Firstly, and most obviously, if several people have approached you expressing concern about your internet use and the degree to which they feel it is dominating your life; or if you feel without being told that your internet habit has damaged your relationship with someone else (be they partner, family member, friend, colleague or anyone else), this is probably a sign that things have gone too far.
If you find yourself regularly missing significant quantities of sleep because you are on the internet, you need to cut back immediately: sleep deprivation can be extremely damaging and can even kill (several deaths associated with internet addiction have resulted from this cause). Likewise if your eating habits have become disturbed – or more worryingly, if you have developed any dietary-related health problems because your internet use is feeding you to consume unhealthy food regularly – this is a problem. If the time you spend online is so great that your hygiene begins to suffer, this could be detrimental to your physical health and your social circumstances.
If you mood is affected significantly by a lack of access to the internet, or by things you do or see whilst online; or if you find yourself unable to relax without regularly using the internet (including social media), again this could be psychologically problematic. Meanwhile if you find yourself suffering financially because of the extent of your Internet use or because of things you do online – such as gaming or gambling – you should reach out for help before the situation gets any worse.
If you have made the decision to seek help in trying to overcome an internet addiction there are numerous different options available to you. Not all of these will be appropriate for you, and some marketed over the internet may not be medically approved: unfortunately there is a good deal of misinformation being disseminated. Before embarking on any course of treatment always consult your GP and/or an addiction specialist.
Residential rehabilitation – “rehab” – has long been established as the most successful long-term treatment for addiction of any kind. (“Rehab” describes the process of attending a dedicated rehabilitation facility, and the facility itself.) At rehab internet addicts are able to receive treatment – including a broad range of therapies – in pleasant, tranquil surroundings in which they can focus entirely on their recovery without the distractions – and, crucially, the temptations – of the outside world.
At Primrose Lodge, our first-class rehab in Surrey, our hugely experienced professional staff have helped countless addicts get back onto the path towards healthy happy lives. Our rehab programme includes therapeutic models such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBt), art therapy, meditation therapy, mindfulness and more; we provide bespoke dietary and fitness plans to ensure healthy bodies as well as healthy minds; and, being aware of the importance of loved ones in the recovery process – as well as the impact on them of addiction – we also provide a Family Recovery Programme to ensure the healing spreads throughout the entire home.
Therapy is a vital aspect of addiction recovery, and our therapy includes both one-to-one and group settings, both considered vital so that addicts can gain valuable new perspectives on their addiction; group therapy in particular can also provide an important peer group with whom to share experiences and advice, and from whom to gain support at critical times. Working with others who have also experienced the highs and lows of internet addiction can provide key learnings as well as robust emotional support.
Rehab is not an inexpensive option; while costs will vary considerably from one case to the next depending on the duration of the stay and possibly other factors, and therefore a precise figure cannot be given here, usually cost would be around £2,750 per week (based on a 28-day stay). Clearly this may not be appropriate for everyone.
However the effectiveness of rehab is such that that sum may be considered an investment in your future, and the cost of not getting treatment – in financial terms and, more importantly in terms of your mental health, your life prospects, and the well-being of your loved ones – is so devastatingly high that this could easily be considered the best investment in yourself you will ever make.
Some of the advantages of rehab are:
Some of the disadvantages of rehab are:
If rehab is something which you feel may be cost-prohibitive – or if any other reason you would like to explore alternatives – there are a number of NHS services and charities which provide addiction treatment. Your first port of call should always be your GP who can explain to you the various options available to you in your area. If appropriate your GP can then refer you onwards to other NHS services – which may include rehab.
One of the difficulties associated with taking the NHS route is the length of time it may take to access the services you require. NHS budgets are increasingly stretched beyond bearing – indeed there is no guarantee you will be able to get a place in more expensive treatment options such as rehab – and waiting times in many parts of the country are intolerably long. Unfortunately this is especially true when it comes to counselling and psychotherapy: once your GP has assessed you and decided you are a suitable candidate for any of those services, he or she will refer you – but you then may need to wait several weeks or even months for a place. Obviously if you are wrestling with a serious addiction this can be extremely traumatic, and in the intervening period your circumstances may worsen drastically.
For some people, private addiction counselling proves a very useful option, either following attendance at rehab as a supplement during long-term recovery, or as a way of managing addiction before taking steps to overcome it altogether (this may be useful for very long-term addicts who feel they need a period of preparation before making such a drastic change). Private counsellors can be found across the country and provide various different therapy models, including some especially niche options which may benefit those for whom mainstream addiction treatment has not proved successful in the past.
Private addiction counsellors act as personal therapists, who can be engaged directly or sometimes through a network of counsellors or businesses. These counsellors can be seen at a frequency to suit the addict, but this usually comprises weekly appointments, often of an hour or so at a time. Some counsellors require a minimum commitment – perhaps six appointments – while others have no such limit. Patients usually pay a fee per appointment although other fee models are available, depending on the preferences of the counsellors in question. Some counsellors may offer emergency access in times of great distress on the part of the client; however, most operate only by appointment during working hours.
Some of the advantages of private addiction counsellors include:
Some of the disadvantages include:
Every case of addiction, as noted, is different and every addict is unique. Therefore it is impossible to say at the beginning of the recovery journey which treatment service will be appropriate for you.
However, it is generally agreed within the medical community that rehab provides the best chances of thorough permanent recovery. The provision of a variety of therapy models, delivered in an attractive peaceful environment, provides a holistic approach to treatment which benefits addicts physically, mentally and spiritually; the combination of individual and group therapy gives useful multiple perspectives on addiction and uncovers its root cause, which can then be addressed in a confidential and non-judgemental setting. Moreover Primrose Lodge recognises that in many cases the family is key to long-term recovery and happiness and our Family Recovery Programme provides healing for both the addict and their loved ones – the perfect foundation for a return to happiness.
Whichever approach to treatment you choose, fellowship groups should always be a component of your long-term recovery plan, as they provide invaluable peer support and can play a crucial role in preventing relapse. You will feel cravings during your recovery, but resisting them is vital and it is easier to do this with the support of those who have been through the experience of addiction.