Mental Health Professionals Struggle to Address Internet Addiction

By Staff Writer

While internet addiction has yet to be fully accepted by the wider mental health community as a diagnosable condition, the problem is very real to those who suffer from it. In fact, a growing number of individuals are seeking substance abuse help for their inability to step away from the computer.

The problem is particularly sharp at college campuses, where students have unlimited internet access, no adult supervision and large blocks of free time. To help deal with this problem, the University of Florida recently set up a support group for those who struggle with internet addiction, according to the school’s news site.

The group, which is called Unplug Yourself from the Virtual World, is run by the school’s Counseling and Wellness Center. Officials told the news source that the goal of the program is to show students that they are not alone in their struggles to limit their internet use, and to show them effective strategies for breaking their addiction.

A 2009 study published in the journal Cyberpsychology and Behavior estimated that as much as 25 percent of internet users show signs of addiction and dependency.