ARISE® Internet and Technology Intervention
Cell phones, laptops, email, and devices with 24/7 Internet access dominate our modern world – our lives are in a place where we are now connected and available nearly any place, at any time. We are now more wired than ever. Internet and technology addiction is a modern epidemic, as our lives become more connect and we become busier the line between how much is too much screen time becomes increasingly blurred. The inventors and owners of our Internet-based social media predicted 5 years ago that in 10 years’ time, our teenagers would be relating to their social media more than to their own families. That time is rapidly approaching – if not already here.
Internet Addiction Disorder
Internet addiction disorder (IAD), also known as problematic Internet use (PIU) or compulsive Internet use (CIU), refers to excessive computer or internet usage to the point that it interferes with daily life. Internet addiction disorder is a process addiction or compulsive disorder much like compulsive shopping/spending, sex addiction, hoarding, compulsive eating, gaming addiction or gambling addiction. Studies show that the same brain structural changes are present in those with an Internet addiction disorder as those addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Many people addicted to Internet may begin to show signs of pulling away from their non-digital lives and connecting more with the experiences online. Usage becomes a problem when the amount of time needed to feel satisfied by the Internet increases to the point that it begins interfering with the Person of Concerns daily life. Those struggling with Compulsive Internet Usage will experience an interruption of typical daily life, social relationships, work, and physical health. Even in the face of negative consequences, the Person of Concern is unable to pull away from the lure of online and internet activities.
As your loved one’s life is increasingly intertwined with their online activities, he or she can build online personas that are unrealistic in real life. Side-effects of these activities can cause depression and anxiety. Problematic Internet usage can also lead to physical problems such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and irregular sleep patterns.
Those close to a person coping with Compulsive Internet Use may notice reduced productivity at home and work, anti-social behavior, or a focus on online-initiated relationships. These relationships may take place online-only in a virtual reality, causing depression, loneliness, and anxiety when real world counterparts do not live up to their online personas. If you are concerned about a loved one’s excessive Internet usage a Certified ARISE® Interventionist can help restore balance to your home.
In this digital age, it is possible to spend all of one’s time on the phone. From dating apps to cell phone games to work emails, it can be very challenging to put down and power off one’s phone. New studies show that Americans, could spend about as much as 1/3 of their waking day on their smartphones.
For those struggling with an addiction to technology, it may be noticeable that their behavior away from the screen is restless, angry, or tired, knocking their families, work life and social life off balance.
Studies have shown that when a person receives a new text message or email, the brain releases dopamine at the thought of opening the unopened message. As with other addictions, the brain craves more until intense usage of one’s smartphone or other technology becomes the new norm to maintain levels of “happiness.” Unfortunately, once your loved one feels an unusually high amount of technology usage is normal – as with a drug or alcohol addiction, he or she will likely continue to crave heightened usage.
Problems of this nature typically begin at an early age. An example of one of our youngest referrals was an 8-year-old girl whose compulsive texting and snapchatting was interfering with her studies in school and her life at home. Her teachers complained that she was not managing her school work and that she seemed to spend her break time on her iPhone rather than socializing with other children. Her parents became desperate when she got angry when they told her it was time to go to bed and turn off her devices. She started throwing things, and when they told her to hand over her iPhone and iPad she began breaking windows.
Recovery is Possible
Our dedicated Certified ARISE® Interventionists can help your loved one get the help they need to take the necessary steps towards a healthy lifestyle and relationship to the internet and technology. They will work with your family over a period of at least 6 to 12 months to ensure that both your loved and your family can learn more about the problem in a way that removes blame, shame and guilt and work on any underlying issues. Our goal is health and healing not just for your loved one but for the entire family.
If your loved one appears to be unable to leave the internet or their devices despite negative consequences, an ARISE® Internet & Technology Intervention can be an effective way to get your loved one and your family the help they need to collectively heal. ARISE® gets over 83% of individuals into treatment within 3 weeks and 96% into treatment within 6 months. Our one year outcome shows over 60% completely healthy and another 10% significantly improved.
Your Certified ARISE® Interventionist will help you select the outpatient services and/or inpatient treatment facility that serves those in need of cessation of compulsive internet/technology use that best fits the needs of your loved one.
Over the next six to twelve months following treatment, your Certified ARISE® Interventionist will continue working with you and your family, the treatment facility, and other treating professionals to determine the appropriate next steps for the next phase of their recovery. If needed, the contract can be extended as long as is it needed.