If you are suffering from internet addiction disorder (IAD) there are good news for you: you can overcome it. Thousands of others have done it before you, and more and more people are doing so every single day. And other than alcoholics anonymous, being a former internet addict does not mean that you have to avoid using the internet. Instead, you can use the internet whenever it makes sense, and unplug whenever you should and want to.
It is true that the internet can be addictive – there are so many interesting, fascinating and entertaining things to be found online. The supply of information is infinite, and it’s growing every day.
Internet overuse is widespread too – from an evolutionary point of view, it’s the first time in human history that we are confronted with such a wide range of mental stimulation.
Human beings are hardwired to be curious; we are hardwired to learn new things. However, with this huge supply of information these otherwise helpful and constructive neurobiological tendencies can turn into problems.
Nowadays, the challenge is not to find valuable information anymore, but the challenge is instead to filter out as much useless information as possible, and focus on what is relevant instead.
There are all kinds of internet addictions – be it regarding social networking, gaming, porn, email, online shopping or other online activities.
Among the medical community, there are still some discussions going on whether it really is an addiction, or a compulsive behavior, but I think we all can agree on the fact that for a lot of people, it is really, really hard to reduce the time they spend online. Even if they spend so much time online that their “real lives” suffer from it.
A lot of people with Internet Addiction Disorder for example become socially deprived and lose friends – even though they might be making lots of “virtual friends” via online gaming and social networking platforms.
They might even neglect their families.
If you think about online activities when you are not online, that’s a good sign that things have gotten out of control.
One thing you can do is to schedule your online time in advance. Decide how many minutes or hours you want to spend online per day, and then set a timer when you get online. If you regularly spend more time online than you scheduled, that is a good indicator that you have a problem. (Note: scheduling four hours per day or more might not be a good way to do this test).
If you go online to feel better or to avoid bad moods or get rid of troubling thoughts or worries, that is another sign of Internet Addiction Disorder.
So what can you do to overcome IAD? Unfortunately in most cases simply using willpower is not enough. What has proven most effective for many people searching for help is hypnosis. It is not necessary to visit a hypnotherapist – instead, just listening to hypnotic suggestions that have been recorded on a regular basis can help to reduce internet overuse.