Adolescent internet addiction is slowly gaining understanding, but it is still misunderstood too frequently. Addictions do not have to involve ingesting a substance in order to be valid. In fact, the natural chemicals released by the brain during internet usage can create a chemical dependency and literal withdrawals when an addict is forcibly separated from the internet. In order to help your addicted adolescent, you must first understand internet addiction and then know where you can turn for help.
An addiction is more than a preference for an activity. Adolescent internet addiction, like other addictions, is characterized by an intense need for the addictive substance which overshadows all other priorities. An addicted teen will feel incapable of turning off the internet. He or she resents time spent away from online gaming or social networking, even if that time is to be spent sleeping, eating, with friends, or in any other activity that was once of interest. Addicts will lie and make any sacrifice they need to in order to get online. You have likely noticed that your teen ignores your repeated requests to turn off a computer or other device. This is not necessarily your child’s attempt to rebel. Addiction can take over your teen’s good intentions until he or she is no longer in control. If your adolescent is addicted, then he or she has a real problem that requires outside help.
As with other types of addiction, help is available. Therapists, especially those who concentrate on teen addictions, can help. They offer therapy programs that allow for private and group discussions in addition to family therapy, which may be valuable in overcoming adolescent internet addiction. With help, your teen will see that he or she is not alone in the addiction. Real solutions will be offered that can guide you in giving your child the needed support to break free from the addiction that is controlling his or her life. With your understanding and support, your teen can rise above the addiction to live a fulfilling life.
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