One double-click too many? An Illinois facility has become the first to offer in-patient treatment for Internet addiction. The cases have been serious — like one patient who wouldn't shower or eat for days, and play computer games until dawn, and another patient so addicted to Internet shopping had boxes shipped to her in the treatment center.
A therapist said:
It's very common for others not to believe that Internet addiction is real. In fact, the person who is addicted to his or her computer is going to have the same "high" as the drug addict who is about to go see their drug dealer. Both are escapes from the real world.
Though kicking cigarettes or booze might just be a question of staying clear of them, with Internet addiction, it's not so easy. The most challenging aspect of the recovery process is the wide availability of the Internet, whether it is on a computer or a cell phone — not to mention those who have to use it for work. "Cocaine and other illegal drugs are not at the library or a coffee shop. Computers are everywhere."
Interestingly, when it comes to girls and boys, there's a difference in addiction. To find out how,
Women Internet addicts are mostly grappling with shopping or chat-room addictions. Men go for Internet gaming (think World of Warcraft) gambling, and the ever popular porno. The youngest patient the clinic has served was 13 years old. Authorities estimate that the problem is just in its infancy — and expect between 15 and 30 million people will be diagnosed in the future.
Have we gone overboard declaring everything to be an "addiction" — or is it possible that any commodity can be abused and require treatment?