Internet Addiction Interventions

If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, you might be considering holding an intervention to persuade them to enter treatment.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the conditions that feed internet addiction as normal activities were disrupted globally and we were forced to spend more time in front of screens. If you or someone you love is struggling with internet overuse, learn the warning signs to look out for and when an internet addiction intervention might be helpful.

What is Internet Addiction?

Internet addiction is a type of behavioral addiction. A person with an internet addiction is dependent on the internet as a way of coping with life and stress.

Someone with an internet addiction may be addicted to:

  • Social media

  • Online gaming

  • Online shopping

  • Online gambling

  • Trading stocks online

  • Forums

  • Blog or news sites

  • Dating sites

  • Pornography

Internet addiction is more prevalent in younger people ages 19-35 years. A recent study in China found internet addiction in 36.7% of the population. There is a higher prevalence of internet addiction amongst those with low family function, high impulsivity, and a reliance on virtual social support.

The Impact of Social Media on Internet Addiction

Social media addiction is a particularly prevalent form of internet addiction. The reason social media is so addictive is that it offers easy access and reward in the form of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in addiction.

The Consequences of Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is linked to a range of negative mental health consequences, including:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Adverse mental health

  • Poor academic or job performance

What is an Internet Addiction Intervention?

An internet addiction intervention is a carefully structured gathering of family and friends with a loved one who has an internet addiction problem. The goal of an intervention is to provide care and support to the person struggling with the addiction so that they can start on the road to recovery.

Signs That It’s Time for an Intervention

It’s helpful to know the signs of an internet addiction so you can act if you or a loved one is suffering. The warning signs of an internet addiction that might require an intervention include:

  • Constantly thinking about internet activity

  • Needing to use the internet for longer and longer to feel satisfied

  • Feeling depressed or irritable when deprived of the internet

  • Frequently staying online longer than intended

  • Jeopardizing jobs, relationships, or education because of the internet

  • Lying to loved ones to hide excess use of the internet

How to Stage an Intervention for Internet Addiction

The goal of your intervention should be to help your loved one understand the impact of their addiction and offer them help.

If you believe a loved one would benefit from an intervention for their internet addiction, you should:

Make a careful plan. You might consult a professional about the best way to approach the intervention and the types of help you can offer your loved one.

Decide who will attend. This can include family and friends.

Take detailed notes about what everyone will say, such as examples of how your loved one’s addiction has impacted friends and family.

Run the intervention meeting.

Follow up afterwards to help your loved one enter recovery.

What Happens After an Intervention for Internet Addiction?

Interventions are just the first step in helping your loved one enter a recovery program for their internet addiction.

What to Expect After an Intervention

At the end of an intervention, your loved one may or may not accept the help you offer. If they accept, you should provide the support and resources they need to enter a recovery program.

If they don’t accept, it’s not the end of the process. It sometimes takes multiple interventions to get through to someone and convince them to accept help. You can continue the conversation at a later time.

Is Treatment Necessary for Internet Addiction?

Treatment may be needed for anyone who cannot control their internet use. If your loved one’s internet use is harming their job, relationships, education, or health, it might be time to seek professional treatment.

You Don’t Have to Go Through Recovery Alone

At Ethos Recovery, we believe in the power of a supportive community. Our structured sober living community for young men in the Los Angeles area is a place of brotherhood, mentoring, and support that aims to reinforce positive lifestyle choices.

Contact us today to discover how Ethos can support your recovery.