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Where Can I Get Help for Internet Addiction?

by Reid K. Hester, Ph.D.

Could you please give me an idea as to where one might find help for internet addiction? Also, could you please provide some information about it?

Although many writers and researchers are starting to address the concept of Internet addiction, I would prefer to use the term compulsive behavior. Addiction technically implies a physical dependence on a substance (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs). That said, it's becoming clear that some active computer users do develop compulsive behavior patterns involving the Internet.

Fortunately, there are two excellent articles on Internet compulsive behaviors in our SelfhelpMagazine. I recommend that you first check out Computer and Cyberspace Addiction, then Internet Can Be As Addicting As Alcohol, Drugs And Gambling. The former also has several links for additional information. You might also enjoy seeing a slide show given by Dr. Marlene Maheu at several conferences in 2003 and 2004. And another by David Greenfield, Ph. D., L.MFT, CEAP, given in 1999: The Nature of Internet Addiction. More
resources can be found by Dr. Greenfield at his website, Virtual Addiction.

If you're concerned that you're becoming compulsive about your use of the Internet I would recommend that you consult with a mental health professional with expertise in compulsive behaviors. Breaking free of compulsive behavioral patterns can be tough, but many people can and do so. It requires some determination and perseverance though and that's where a professional can be helpful, in addition to his or her expertise in behavioral change.

About the Author:

Reid K. Hester, Ph.D., Director, Research Division, Behavior Therapy Associates, 3810 Osuna Rd. NE Suite 1, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Phone: 505.345.6100.

Originally published 2/19/98
Revised 8/18/08 by Marlene M. Maheu, Ph.D.
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