Nowadays, a lot of Internet users spend hours connecting themselves to the virtual world. Some people use this kind of invention to help themselves escape the reality of life — stress, anxiety, and adversity. Many people spend hours on the internet every week and some people can’t pull themselves away from it which leads to addiction.

Internet addiction, according to the researchers, is the disproportionate use of the Internet that negatively affects the life of an individual. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Internet gaming disorder has become a mental health condition. The benchmark for gaming disorder in WHO’s International Classification of Diseases comprises at least 12 months of frequent patterns of gaming, loss of control, and continuously gaming even though there is a negative aftermath in other aspects of life.

But did you know that there is a way to escape from this addiction? It is called the short-term cognitive behavioral therapy. According to the study presented in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry, this therapy consists of 15 weeks of group and individual discussions and is divided into three stages: education about the addiction, the healthy use of the Internet, and its transition into everyday living. Researchers used a comprehensive definition of Internet addiction which includes patients who were addicted to gaming, social networking sites, and online surfing.

Klaus Wölfling, the lead author of the study, claimed that their assessment is exclusive for men because they are the prominent patients for Internet addiction. They gathered 143 men between ages 17 and 55 who passed the Assessment of Internet and Computer Game Addiction. The 14 criteria of the study comprise frequency of Internet activity, withdrawal symptoms, preoccupation with the Internet, and a loss of interest in other life activities. The result of Internet addiction got a score of more than 13, while temporary recovery got a score of less than 7.

At the end of the treatment, patients in the therapy group developed lower cases of addiction indications such as disengagement, distraction, and better social work. “This indicates a strong treatment effect for subjects suffering from Internet addiction or gaming disorder,” said Wölfling. “Patients might profit even further if the treatment phase would be prolonged,” he said in the JAMA Psychiatry podcast. He also stated that the understanding of the person and the development of the pathological behavior may be more important for the patient to learn about their history and own life’s development.

The Internet is one of the greatest inventions that man has ever made. In just a simple click, you are now connected to everyone and everywhere. But you should also be responsible for using it because if you’re not, this wonderful creation will lead you to danger.