How Does the Internet Affect Process Addictions?
The Internet has changed the way people live, but it also comes with many problems. Process addictions—mental health problems that involve behaviors, not drugs—involve many activities, all of which have been transformed by the use of the Internet. By offering new and altered processes, the Internet has affected the way process addictions are developed and conducted, but professional treatment can help people resist temptation to relapse, even if it occurs online.
How the Internet Enables Process Addiction
People with process addictions do not need a continuous supply of a drug, but they do need opportunities to carry out the processes at the center of their addictions. They also need to be sheltered from the damage of their actions and the intervention of other people. People who support drug addicts are often called enablers, but the Internet acts as a powerful enabler by providing an unrivaled level of access to engage addictive processes. In other words, people can use the internet to facilitate any of the following problems:
- Online gambling – Gambling addicts can play casino-style games in virtual casinos, and they can place online bets on sports for real money
- Online shopping – Online stores never close and sell every kind of product, so shopping addicts need never leave their houses to shop, and they also do not need to do anything further than click a mouse to get a fix
- Online dating – Sex addicts use chat rooms and networking sites to find partners for casual sex or to hire prostitutes
These Internet platforms make it easier for more people to engage habits that can develop into process addictions. Beyond more access, the Internet can also add excitement to a process addiction. For instance, the Internet may deliver a more intense addictive process for the following problems:
- Network gaming – Video game addicts can always find a human opponent to challenge them directly over the Internet
- Real time auctions – A competitive element is added to shopping in auctions that occur at all times of the day
- Sex chat rooms – Sex addicts can trade suggestive comments and explicit pictures before and after real-life encounters
The extra excitement that the Internet brings can make process addictions to address.
Lastly, activities carried out over the Internet are easily concealed, so addicts do not face the shame and guilt they would if they enacted their addictions in person. Unlike visits to casinos, shopping malls, brothels or bars, visits to websites can be abruptly ended and leave no discernable evidence. Therefore, interventions which might have been made by loved ones are prevented through concealment of the Internet.
Treatment for Process Addictions
If you or someone you know pursues a process addiction using the Internet, call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline to learn more about treatment options. You can recover with the right help, so reach out right now for our professional support.