The term internet addiction was first coined by a psychologist back in 1995, when the web was still in its primal years. In fact, he only said that phrase to serve as a comical statement. But now, internet addiction has become a serious business. Because of its growing incidence, a hospital-based internet addiction treatment center is going to be opened at the Behavioral Health Services at Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania.
The program is purely voluntary, which lasts for 10 days. Presently, the facility can only accommodate up to four people who have been diagnosed with sever internet addiction. The patients will initially have to undergo an extensive evaluation process and a “digital detox” that disallows mobile phone, tablet, or internet usage lasting for at least 72 hours. After that, they’ll be asked to attend to therapy sessions and educational seminars to help control their compulsion.
To be classified as an internet addict takes more than counting the number of hours one spends online. Instead, it qualifies patients under the condition if there were already consequences posed by their internet overuse, such as jeopardy on their careers and relationships or dishonesty about internet usage in itself. “There was a difference between people who depended on modern technology but could balance their online life with their offline life, and people whose obsession prevented them from functioning normally,” said Kimberly Young, a psychologist and founder of the new program. To be specific, being in front of the computer for hours to monitor your stocks or manage your online mobile store is not counted.
The goal of the treatment is not for patients to completely distance their lives from technology; rather, it allows them to get back on the internet but in a healthy way. Young admits that computer use is vital to modern life, and it’s not practical for someone to stay completely offline.
The program costs a staggering $14,000. It is not covered by insurance because up to this moment, internet addiction isn’t recognized as a mental health disorder by the psychiatric community. Though the price may be high, it may be the answer to eliminate a person’s counterproductive nature and realize his full potential. Just think of it as an investment that will provide you with ten-fold gains in the future.
According to Dr. Charles O’Brien, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, “We are trying to come to grips with something that is very new, and we don’t want to define this as a disorder unless it is clinically important.” Anyway, with the rampant increase in the cases of internet addiction and the ongoing studies being conducted concerning it, it will just be a matter of time until the condition will be an accepted diagnosis that requires treatment.