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Internet Addiction: How to Assess and Treat the Disorder

4 CE Credit Hours - Online Course - $49.00

Developed by Kimberly S. Young, Psy.D.

This course is also offered as part of two Certificate Programs:
Psychology of the Web 15 CE Credit Hours

Addiction: From Substance Abuse & Chemical Dependency to Gambling & Internet Addiction 48 CE Credit Hours

Course materials: text/webpage Articles

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General Course Description

Internet addiction is a rapidly growing clinical condition that impacts adults and children. Given the newness of the disorder, therapists often feel unfamiliar with how to treat the problem and in some cases do not understand the addictive potential of Internet usage. This course is designed to help therapists identify the issues related to diagnosis and treatment of this new clinical problem. Using modified DSM criteria, this course provides therapists with a framework to diagnose Internet addiction, specialized assessment tools and clinical interview techniques, and reviews the subtypes of this condition as well as a model for treating Internet-addicted clients.

The course consists of six articles. The first article reviews the prevalence of Internet addiction as we understand to date. The problem is relatively difficult to track, especially worldwide. The article identifies the current literature across cultures and discusses the significant prevalence of the problem in China, Korea, and Taiwan. The second article describes the DSM-based criteria used to diagnose Internet addiction and provides specialized clinical assessment and interview tools. The third article explains the subtypes of Internet addiction such as Internet pornography, chat rooms, Internet gaming, and Internet gambling. The fourth article describes several theories on why users become dependent or addicted to the Internet. The fifth article describes CBT-IA, the current model of treating Internet addition, which is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy mixed with harm reduction therapy. The final article is a compilation of resources for further study and information.

Disclaimer: This course is purely educational and does not intend to serve as a license (or permission) to mental health professionals to prescribe or practice any of the approaches discussed in this course unless they fall within the scope of practice of your profession. Check with your licensing board about the scope of practice of your profession to make sure you practice within that scope. It also does not serve as a permission to title yourself in any specific way.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach the participant to:

1.    Identify the prevalence of Internet addiction.

2.    Describe the current etiologic models of Internet addiction.

3.    Diagnose compulsive from normal patterns of Internet use.

4.    Define the subtypes of Internet addiction.

5.    Summarize the reasons why people become addicted to Internet use.

6.    Utilize cognitive-behavioral interventions specially designed to treat the Internet-addicted client.

Course Syllabus

Prevalence Estimates and Etiologic Models of Internet Addiction

  • Learning the prevalence across cultures
  • An overview of etiologic factors contributing to Internet addiction
  • Cognitive-behavior factors
  • Neuropsychological factors
  • Compensation theory
  • Situational Factors

Clinical Assessment of Internet-Addicted Clients

  • Conceptualization of Internet addiction
  • Learning how to administer the Internet Addiction Test
  • A focus on moderation and controlled Internet use
  • Developing motivational interviewing techniques
  • Learning how multiple addictions impact Internet overuse
  • Learning how underlying social problems impact Internet overuse

Subtypes of Internet Addiction

  • Internet Pornography
  • Adult chat rooms
  • Chat rooms in general
  • Internet gaming
  • Internet gambling
  • eBay and auction house compulsions

What Makes the Internet Addictive

  • Substitute for relationships and intimacy
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Emotional release and catharsis
  • Multiple addictions
  • An arena for sexual exploration

CBT-IA: Treating Internet addiction

  • Why use cognitive-behavioral therapy?
  • Phase 1: Behavioral Modification
  • Phase 2: Cognitive Restructuring
  • Phase 3: Harm Reduction Therapy
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