Internet addiction

Internet addiction has become an increasingly prevalent problem in today’s society. While we can all spend too much time scrolling online, for some, the internet has become an all-consuming force that dominates their lives and affects their relationships, work and overall well-being in the form of internet addiction.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone when facing this issue, but the good news is that help is available. Banbury Lodge offers a range of treatment options for those struggling with internet addiction, providing a safe and supportive environment to help you regain control of your life.

Internet addiction - man on his computer

What is internet addiction?

Internet addiction involves a loss of control over internet use, with the individual unable to reduce or stop their internet use despite experiencing negative consequences. Individuals with internet addiction may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, irritability, or physical symptoms when they try to reduce or stop their internet use.

Internet addiction is considered a behavioural addiction that is classified as an impulse control disorder, meaning that no mood-altering substances are involved. Internet addiction shares similarities with other behavioural addictions such as shopping addiction, sex addiction, or gambling addiction.

What is the difference between unhealthy internet use and addiction?

Unhealthy internet use refers to excessive or compulsive use of the internet that may cause some negative consequences in an individual’s life, such as lack of productivity, neglect of responsibilities, or social isolation. However, it does not necessarily involve a loss of control over internet use or the development of withdrawal symptoms when internet use is reduced or stopped.

While unhealthy internet use and internet addiction share some similarities, the key difference lies in the loss of control and compulsive behaviour associated with addiction. Unhealthy internet use can be a warning sign of developing internet addiction and seeking help early on can prevent the condition from worsening.

What makes the internet so addictive?

There are several factors that can contribute to the addictiveness of the internet:

  • Instant gratification: The internet provides immediate access to information, entertainment and social interaction, which can be highly rewarding and reinforce the behaviour of internet use.
  • Social rewards: Social media platforms and online communities provide a sense of social connection and validation, which can be rewarding and promote continued internet use.
  • Escapism: The internet can provide a temporary escape from stress, boredom, or negative emotions, making it an appealing coping mechanism for some individuals.
  • Personalisation: The internet allows users to customise their experiences based on their preferences and interests, creating a personalised and engaging experience that can be difficult to replicate in other areas of life.
  • Availability: The internet is ubiquitous and accessible from almost anywhere, making it difficult to avoid or resist the temptation to use it.
  • Dopamine release: Internet use has been shown to activate the same reward pathways in the brain that are involved in drug addiction, leading to the release of dopamine and reinforcing the behaviour.

For better or worse, the internet is a part of all of our lives so it is important to be aware of these factors, among others, that can contribute to the addictiveness of the internet and make it difficult for some individuals to control their internet use.

How do I know if I have an internet addiction?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive test that can establish if you have an internet addiction, so it is vital to recognise your behaviour and your use of the internet. Here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate an internet addiction:

  • Do you have a preoccupation with the internet? Are you spending an excessive amount of time thinking about being online, even when not using the internet?
  • Is your ability to use the internet uncontrollable? Have you made repeated attempts to reduce or stop internet use, but were unable to do so?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, depression, or other symptoms when unable to access the internet?
  • Are you finding the need to spend more and more time online to achieve the same level of satisfaction or enjoyment?
  • Is your internet use causing you to neglect important responsibilities, such as work, school, or social obligations, to spend more time online?
  • Have you become more socially isolated and spend less time with friends and family in favour of spending more time online?
  • Are you using the internet as a way to escape from stress, anxiety, depression, or other negative emotions?

If you find that your internet use is causing significant problems in your daily life, it may be a sign of internet addiction. Seeking professional help from an addiction treatment centre like Banbury Lodge can be the first step towards recovery.

Internet addiction - man on his computer 2

What are the negative side effects of internet addiction?

It is important for you to recognise the negative effects an internet addiction can have on both your mental and physical health. Here are some examples of potential negative side effects:

Mental health effects…

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Increased stress levels
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Social isolation and difficulty forming and maintaining relationships
  • Decreased attention span and ability to concentrate
  • Insomnia and sleep disorders

Physical health effects…

  • Poor posture and neck, back and shoulder pain
  • Eye strain and vision problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain injuries
  • Weight gain and obesity due to a sedentary lifestyle
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other health problems associated with a lack of physical activity

Note that these side effects can vary depending on the type and extent of internet use, as well as your overall health and lifestyle. However, it is clear that excessive and compulsive internet use can have negative consequences on overall well-being.

What are the treatments available for internet addiction?

Addiction is a chronic illness and without appropriate treatment and ongoing management, individuals are likely to persist in their harmful behaviours. At Banbury Lodge, we offer a comprehensive programme that tackles the underlying factors contributing to internet addiction and empowers individuals to make a complete shift in their mindset and conduct.

Our programme provides a respite from the typical triggers, allowing you to concentrate fully on your recovery and establish a sturdy framework for ongoing recovery. By personalising our approach, which combines various holistic therapies, we are enabled to address the unique needs of each individual and address all the complex aspects of codeine addiction.

Group therapy can be a valuable complement to individual therapies and other forms of treatments for internet addiction, as it can provide additional support, motivation and skill-building opportunities for individuals seeking to overcome their addiction.

How can we help at Banbury Lodge?

At Banbury Lodge, we are trained in supporting you and your loved ones to overcome internet addiction in a safe and encouraging place, ensuring no one has to battle alone. By integrating various holistic therapies, we help you understand more about yourself and the reasons you might have developed an internet addiction. Remember, we are here for you at Banbury Lodge, without judgement, to win the battle and beat your addiction once and for all.

Frequently asked questions

Where can I get help for my internet addiction?
Banbury Lodge provides inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and support groups. Banbury Lodge is part of a larger UKAT network that has nine treatment centres in the UK that are available to assist you in your recovery.
Is internet addiction a mental illness?
Yes, internet addiction is behavioural addiction which qualifies it by medical professionals as a mental illness.
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Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 3757