Is your love life languishing in the shadow of your eSports schedule? Do you forget to eat during your marathon WoW raids? Have you watched more cat videos than any single person you know? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might have an internet addiction – and now, there’s a program that can help you out.
The Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania is opening America’s first-ever in-patient treatment program for Internet addiction. Dr. Kimberly Young, the psychiatrist who founded the program, has been studying Net addiction since 1994 (those people must have really loved Geocities and spinning GIFs), and says that people often laugh off her work.
But Internet addiction is hardly a LOL-worthy matter; the symptoms are similar to those of hardcore drug addicts, activating the same dopamine-releasing parts of the brain. Following in the footsteps of countries like China, Korea, and Taiwan, the Bradford Center’s 10-day in-patient program will cost $14,000, and include 72 hours of digital detox time and a full psych eval.
The doctors at Bradford are sure to mention that not everyone who loves the internet is an addict; there is a very particular list of signs that signify online addiction. “People can spend 10 hours a day in front of a screen, blow off their wives, blow off their work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re addicted,” says Dr. Allen Frances, chairman of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. “Addiction implies a pattern of use that you can’t stop.”
Sadly for those other people, there remains no treatment center for just being a dick.
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