Online addiction: are your kids at risk?

January 30, 2017

Towards the end of last year Dr Ben Teoh, a psychiatrist at the South Pacific Private hospital in Sydney, met with a successful lawyer, aged in his mid-40s, who’d arrived to be treated for severe alcohol addiction.

The lawyer had hidden his habit from colleagues but not so well from his wife, who’d encouraged him to get professional help. The lawyer’s problems, however, were more layered and complex than even his wife knew. The lawyer had kept secret his other addictions, to cocaine and online pornography.

“He accessed the internet quite regularly and intensely,” says the softly spoken Teoh, a specialist in addiction medicine.

Teoh and other mental health experts have noticed a sharp rise in patients requiring treatment for online addictions, even if it’s not the main reason they first seek help. It may be for drug or alcohol addiction but, as a patient’s history is investigated and the layers peeled back, increasingly present are online addictions that didn’t exist a decade ago

For the depressed lawyer it was addiction to alcohol, cocaine and online porn. For a young person with self-esteem issues it might be an obsession with body image and an addiction to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, where images of one’s ideal self can be posted, with flaws cropped or filtered out.

Originally Published by the Australian Financial Review, click here to continue reading.

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