The common everyday activity of going online evolves into an addiction for some people. At Northbound Treatment Services, clients suffering from Internet addiction work with a certified addiction case manager and a primary therapist who understand process addictions like Internet addiction.
Process addictions are similar to alcohol or drug addictions in that they provide an outlet for the addict. Excessive use of the Internet allows the addict to get “lost” in another world and avoid negative feelings. Individuals with Internet addiction often become obsessed with being online, despite the negative consequences.
Real Life, Real Treatment
At Northbound, process addictions are treated with individual and group therapies. We emphasize helping individuals address their feelings and return to real-world scenarios.
Common treatment methods include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). CBT is the most frequently used and helps sufferers effectively process feeling and emotions without using the Internet. Our clinical staff has created a treatment plan that addresses both the Internet addiction and substance abuse. Northbound also utilizes a number of experiential therapies to aid the healing process. One of the most powerful experiential therapies is equine therapy, involving interaction with horses, which has been found to help clients process feelings and take on personal responsibility.
Internet addiction treatment often leads to the discovery of a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety or chronic depression. If psychiatrically indicated, medication for clients with a dual-diagnosis (a process addiction and a mood disorder, for example) serves to support therapeutic goals and client well-being. In situations where a secondary disorder is diagnosed, proper medication can make therapy more effective, as a chronic psychiatric imbalance can block a client’s ability to successfully communicate in therapy.
The development of basic life skills is crucial to long-term recovery. Northbound takes a holistic approach to treatment, ensuring that each treatment plan for clients with process addictions are well-rounded and help clients develop crucial life skills. Learning how to cope with triggers created by normal use of the Internet is another important part of recovery, as individuals who suffer from Internet addiction will need to go online in their day-to-day lives. Learning how to interact with the Internet and how to overcome Internet addiction without reverting back to old behaviors is crucial to long term recovery.
Clients are paired with a licensed therapist who understands the process addiction, and individual sessions with the therapist are scheduled weekly or more as needed and area aimed at enhancing additional therapies the client is undergoing. During this time clients are able to gain some perspective on when their Internet use became a habit and later an addiction. They also often begin to understand what they were trying to accomplish through their process addiction. This knowledge helps to motivate clients and assists in overcoming Internet addiction.