Before starting a program for computer addiction treatment or video game addiction treatment, most people rightfully have questions about what they can expect or whether treatment is an appropriate step. Some of the most common questions about treating computer addiction and internet addiction are addressed below.
Q: I know people who use the internet or play video games far more than I do, so my habits can't be a problem...right?
A: Yes, it is very possible that you know others who spend more time online than you do. However, as mentioned in the Internet Addiction FAQs section, the raw number of hours spent online or gaming is not the best measure of problem severity. Instead, you need to assess the negative impact your internet and video game use is having on your work, school, relationship, or psychological functioning. Also, just because there are people who are struggling even more than you doesn't mean that you cannot address your own difficulties. If you have tried to cut back with little success, computer addiction treatment from a qualified psychologist or therapist may provide the extra help you need.
Q: It's just the internet and games, not drugs or alcohol - is treatment really necessary?
A: Many people find themselves asking the question "Do I need treatment" before they finally decide to see a psychologist. This may be the wrong question to ask. "Could I benefit from computer addiction treatment?" is a better way to think about it.
Q: Is the goal of computer addiction treatment to completely give up my online activities or gaming?
A: No. In most cases the goal is more moderate and healthy use - not complete abstinence.
Q: How long does treatment last?
In my practice, therapy for basic internet, computer, or gaming addiction is approximately five sessions. If there are more complicated underlying issues (e.g., depression, low self-esteem, etc.) this may add to the duration of therapy.
Q: Are fees covered by public insurance?
The fees of private practice psychologists in Canada are not covered by provincial insurance. However, many private and company insurance programs do cover these services. For example, if you have dental coverage you likely have coverage to see a psychologist as well. Also, fees for psychological services are tax deductible in Canada.
Q: I'm worried about the amount of time my child spends online - can I book an appointment?
Yes. However, therapy involving a young child will usually focus on the parents developing strategies and setting appropriate limits for their child. Alternatively, you can download How to Help Children Addicted to Video Games - A Guide for Parents and start helping your child immediately.
Q: What is the format of therapy?
A: The structure of treatment for computer addiction and video game addiction really depends on the client and the problems he or she wishes to address. However, the model for tech addiction often follows this basic format:
1: Assessment of the nature and severity of difficulties.
2: Detailed self-monitoring of online or gaming use for at least one week.
3: Identification of the most problematic areas using information from the self-monitoring week.
4: Clearly identify strategies which will be used to reach these goals.
5: Monitor progress using mutually agreed upon strategies.
6: Reevaluate goals and strategies. Discard techniques which are not working, modify when necessary, or add new interventions.
Q: What other options are available for computer addiction treatment?
A: Not everyone wishes to see a psychologist or therapist for computer addiction treatment. Others may not have the resources to pay for therapy. Finally, it may be difficult to find a psychologist who has experience treating internet addiction, computer addiction, and video game addiction. If this is the case for you and you still wish to address problems with excessive online activities, the Computer, Internet, & Video Game Addiction Treatment Workbook or How to Help Children Addicted to Video Games may be helpful alternatives.
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