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We’ve all heard the jokes about how to identify if you are an addict. You know, ‘Hello, my name is (fill in the blank) and I’m an Internet Addict.’ ‘Hello, (fill in the name).’ You might have a problem if you fill in the name with something like, ‘web_rowser’ instead of the name your parents gave you. Have you ever been at work and written a business memo and added ‘LOL’ in it? Have you ever responded to your computer nickname rather than your real name. Do you get depressed, despondent and/or feel disconnected and with the world when you power down for the night? Are you distraught and the world seems out of reach when your cable company is out? Do you avoid going places that don’t have an internet connection? Do you break out in sweats when you have to fly somewhere and know you won’t be able to access the internet while in the air? Is your closest confident someone named ‘nyte_magic’ and you don’t know their real name, what country they live in, what they do for a living, whether they are male or female or 17 or 75? Do you fall asleep at the keyboard? Do you dream in html?
Yeah, that’s just a small sampling of the jokes about internet addiction that have been going around since about 1996 or sooner, when the internet first started being accessible to everyone in every home.
Some of the symptoms of what behavioral experts are calling Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) include:
- Using online services everyday without any skipping
- Getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and checking email before returning to bed
- Losing track of time after making a connection
- Spending more and more time on the internet and less and less time with ‘real life’ friends
- Spending less time on daily chores to allow more time on the computer
- Eating meals while sitting at the computer
- Minimizing the time you spend online when someone asks you about it
- Sneaking onto the internet when family isn’t around to make you feel guilty about it
- Taking time at work to go online, letting your work slide
- Significant others complaining about the amount of time you spend on the internet
- Fantasizing about being online when you aren’t
- Work, relationships, study and life suffer because of the time you spend on the internet
- You lose sleep because of staying on the internet late into the night
- You get irritable and snap when someone interrupts your concentration while you are online
That’s just a sampling of symptoms, but I wonder how many of those you can check off? Personally, I’m not telling (whoops, that’s a symptom, isn’t it!).
There have been treatment centers for this addiction in China for a couple of years now. China has the distinction of having the largest online population in the world. They also have the distinction of having had a 16-year-old boy die in one of their treatment centers earlier this month and using rather harsh treatment techniques.
But we aren’t China. Instead, we have our very own treatment center opening up right here in the United States. Situated on a restive 5-acres just outside of Seattle in Fall City, Washington. reStart is a 45-day program that houses 6 people at a time and bills itself as an internet addiction recovery program.
to help internet and video game addicts overcome their dependence on gaming, gambling, chatting, texting and other aspects of Internet Addiction.
Fortunately, I don’t have an internet addiction problem, so I can keep track of reStart and their Internet Addiction Recovery Program from right here at my laptop. Whoops. I have to run, my significant other just got up and I don’t want him to see I’m still online. Bye.
Internet Recovery Program – Video
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