Logo

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction disorder covers a variety of compulsive Internet activities including the following:

  • Cybersex and pornography
  • Cyber-relationships
  • Online gambling
  • Gaming addiction
  • Spending addiction

Cybersex and pornography

Though the Internet is often a great way of escaping reality, spending excessive amounts of time on the Internet engaging in cybersex, viewing pornography, spending time in adult chat rooms or carrying out relationships in online fantasy worlds can begin to have negative repercussions on an individuals real life relationships.

Cyber-relationships

The Internet is a great way to meet and interact with new people and may even lead to the development of a romantic relationship. However, online relationships are often far more intense than those in reality and there is opportunity to live out our ultimate fantasies. A huge problem with online relationships is that many people online lie about their sex, age, appearance, relationship status and job, meaning that when online friends meet in real-life, unfortunately they may not live up to one another’s online persona resulting in significant emotional distress.

Online gambling

Whilst problem gambling has been an issue for a number of years now and there are many associations and support groups offering help and advice, the ease and availability of gambling online has made it more accessible than ever. In addition, recovering gambling addicts may also find it far more difficult not to relapse with the temptation of 24 hour online casinos which are open to anyone of any age. In addition, the financial problems brought on by online gambling can also result in stress, anxiety and depression.

Gaming addiction

Many individuals find enjoyment in playing online role playing games in their leisure time, and not everyone who does this is an addict. The vast majority of online gamers are able to strike a balance between gaming, work, friends and family, but unfortunately for some the compulsion to play online games becomes uncontrollable meaning that other areas of real life are neglected.

Spending addiction

Online shopping or auction shopping can be just as financially detrimental as online gambling if a habit gets out of control. Shopping addicts have a tendency to purchase things they don't really need and can't really afford but they do so in order to experience the temporary high of placing a winning bid or owning something new.

There are various symptoms of Internet addiction, and each individual is likely to experience a different set. However, below are some key indicators to be aware of:

  • Losing track of time.
  • Social isolation
  • Temporary high
  • Feelings of guilt and defensiveness

Physical symptoms - Aside from the emotional aspects, excessive computer addiction also causes some physical side effects and discomfort including strained vision, back ache, neck ache, headaches, sleep difficulties, carpal tunnel syndrome and weight gain or loss.

The ultimate goal of our counselling would be to assist you in either reducing or stopping your addiction all together, depending on your specific needs and goals. Sessions may involve exploring different ways of dealing with certain urges and triggers and exploring the origins of the problem and the underlying reason for your addiction. We may also use cognitive-behavioural therapy, which is a way of changing your thoughts and behaviours surrounding a certain act or issue. We will work with you to help you make sense of your circumstances, to identify your choices for change and to offer support throughout the entire process.

Who can help you?

Counselling services in the North Coast Causeway area of Northern Ireland, we can offer you an initial telephone consultation for 15/20 minutes free of charge for you to discuss the reason you are seeking counselling.

Profile photo of Louise O'Kane

Louise O'Kane

Integrative Counsellor

View Profile

My name is Louise and I am a fully qualified professional integrative counsellor. My therapy base is…

Profile photo of Monica O'Neill

Monica O'Neill

Integrative Counsellor

View Profile

I am a professional, qualified, integrative counsellor providing a counselling service and I am base…