Psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatment for problematic digital technology use: Formulating principles and practice guides from the scientific and professional literature

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This chapter focuses on the psychological treatment of problem Internet and digital technology use (PRIU), such as excessive gaming, and also briefly overviews pharmacological approaches. Forms of Internet and digital technology use that provide alternative vehicles for more specific problem or addictive behavior, such as excessive gambling or shopping, and which often seem to present with differing features, are not covered here [editors’ comment: but rather addressed in other chapters of this book]. Although treatment research is still in an early stage of development, an accumulating body of literature involving a diverse range of presentations and populations and a variety of treatment strategies has often yielded positive and robust effect sizes. Hence, a relatively compelling justification can be provided for therapeutic intervention, especially when using treatments of demonstrated effectiveness with similar clients, when PRIU seems to be associated with significant malfunction or worsening of co-occurring conditions, and when trends suggest that problems are not remitting or are worsening. Beyond these broad conclusions, research on PRIU in general and treatment studies, although often considerably less complete than preferable, provide varying levels of guidance for tailoring or designing intervention in lines with client presentation. Hence, the chapter also covers various specific topics and possible guides for therapeutic planning and implementation.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

The Oxford Handbook of Digital Technologies and Mental Health