Hospital first in US to treat internet addiction

Xavier Symons
7 Sep 2013
Reproduced with Permission

A US hospital has become the first of its kind to offer a treatment program dealing with internet addiction. Pennsylvania's Bradford Regional Medical Centre is offering a ten-day program designed to help patients whose attachment to the internet prevents them from living a normal life. The program involves a 72-hour "digital detox", during which patients are not allowed to use computers, phones or tablets. This is followed by a series of therapy sessions and educational seminars to help patients balance internet usage with other commitments in their life. The goal of the program is to allow patients to get back on the internet, but in a healthy way.

"Like any other addiction, we look at whether it has jeopardized their career, whether they lie about their usage or whether it interferes with relationships," said psychologist Kimberly Young, the founder of the program.

When the American Psychological Association released its controversial DSM-5 earlier this year, "gaming disorder" was for the first time listed as a disorder. Will internet addiction be next?