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How Does the Internet Affect Process Addiction?

How Does the Internet Affect Process Addiction?Released in 2013, the authoritative fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) marked the first time a process addiction was categorized alongside substance abuse disorders. Dr. Charles O’Brien, chair of the manual’s Substance-Related Disorders Work Group, explained that process and substance addictions both change neurobiological systems and the brain’s priorities. As a result, pathological gambling earned the first process addiction entry, while addictions to other acts, like sex, eating and shopping, remain in related categories. The Internet, to which people can become addicted, is a tool that can either help or hurt a process addict; some people use it to research treatment information, but other people have unlimited access to their addictive behavior through. Either way, process addicts need professional help to break addiction and to control their Internet use.

How the Internet Aids Process Addiction

The Internet can contribute to addictive behavior in the following ways:

  • Shopping addicts have unlimited access to online merchants
  • Pathological gamblers can easily connect with online gaming sites
  • Sex addicts have access to swingers, dating sites, pornography and escort services
  • Editorials suggest ways to succeed at gambling, sex, gaming and other processes
  • Online forums glorify various processes
  • Click-through advertisements can provide immediate access to any problematic process

Furthermore, the Internet contains the following cues that can trigger addiction cravings:

  • Some photographs diminish self-image and empower eating disorders
  • Pornographic images create impulses to feed a sex or pornography addiction
  • Sales, promotions and product debuts motivate pathological shopping or game play
  • Social media sites producing emotional cues that trigger compulsive behaviors

Any type of Internet use can impact people with process addictions.

Statistics on Mental Health Issues

Many studies show that mental disorders commonly co-occur with process addictions. In fact, a 2012 European Psychiatry journal article looked at Internet addiction among high school students, and it discusses the following findings:

  • 11% of students in the survey met the criteria for Internet addiction
  • Addicts had higher rates of attention problems, impulsivity and ADHD symptoms
  • The rates of all levels of depression were significantly higher among the addicts

Similar studies of other process addictions produced the same results.

Treatment for Process Addiction

Misconceptions and stigmas still surround process addiction, but the public is quickly learning that behavioral addictions are legitimate psychiatric disorders with serious consequences. As a result of this budding awareness, rehab centers now provide the following treatment methods:

  • Integrated screenings and therapies for co-occurring disorders
  • Skills classes that include safe and positive Internet use
  • Strategies to neutralize the effects of process addictions
  • Behavioral therapies to foster healthier thought patterns and beliefs
  • Group counseling to share experiences, knowledge and support

Different rehab centers offer different treatment methods, so seek the help that will address your individual problems.

Find Treatment for Process Addiction

If you have questions about process addictions, then call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak with one of our admissions coordinators. They can discuss symptoms, treatment options and aftercare support, and they can even check your health insurance policy for available rehab benefits. Please call now for immediate support.