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Where Can Individuals Get Help for Addiction to Digital Media?

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In a time when almost every part of our life is influenced by digital technology, it is becoming more and more obvious that some people have a bad connection with their gadgets. Even while organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the NHS do not legally acknowledge digital addictions, they may still have a significant influence on people’s life. So what should people do if they start to feel enslaved by their digital habits? Let’s look at the accounts of Sophia, Abby, and Maggie, who were helped by a 12-step program for internet addiction and found comfort and support.

Nineteen-year-old Sophia talks about her battle against a ten-year tech addiction. Immigrated from East Asia, Sophia grew up in Oxfordshire and took solace in her gadgets when she was lonely. Her first comforting habit quickly turned into a crippling addiction, filling her days for up to 16 hours at a time with social media and self-help content. It had a severe toll on her relationships, her grades, and her mental health.

Sophia bravely decided to ask Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous (ITAA), a worldwide support group that uses a 12-step methodology, for assistance in 2023. ITAA, which was established in 2017, offers a forum for people to interact, exchange stories, and encourage one another to overcome digital addictions. ITAA provides assistance through both in-person meetings and online forums, and it has chapters in major locations including London, Oxford, and shortly Manchester.

Two more ITAA members, Abby and Maggie, spoke about their battles with internet addiction. Abby describes how her time spent on streaming services throughout her time in college caused her to disregard necessities like eating and sleep. Maggie, on the other hand, discovered that she was going on more prolonged binges of video content, which ultimately cost her a job.

Sophia, Abby, and Maggie didn’t get any comfort from the conventional sources of assistance they tried, such as general practitioners and mental health agencies, until they learned about ITAA. Professor of psychology John McAlaney notes that identifying digital addiction can be difficult, but he also stresses how critical it is to recognize when someone is having difficulties.

Although digital addictions are not yet officially recognized by the NHS or WHO, private mental health clinics such as The Priory have seen a notable increase in the number of questions regarding addictions to gaming, the internet, and social media. However, rather than developing new diagnoses, some professionals, such as Prof. Andrew Przybylski of the Oxford Internet Institute, support treating the underlying reasons of compulsive behaviors.

The friendship and support that Sophia, Abby, and Maggie discovered at ITAA have changed their lives. They have reconstructed their lives and learnt to control their urges thanks to the 12-step program. Recognizing the priceless connection formed via in-person engagement, Abby and Maggie have gone so far as to launch an in-person support group in Oxford.

As the discourse surrounding digital addiction persists, it is evident that a comprehensive strategy is required to tackle this intricate problem. For individuals with digital addiction, there is hope for recovery and equilibrium in an increasingly digital environment through community efforts, individual treatment, and support organizations like ITAA.

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