Addicted to the Internet? You can go to Rehab

Ever joked around with someone about being addicted to the Internet or gaming? You may find it frustrating when you’re Internet is down, or when you have no service on your phone when you’re out of town – I just did at the cottage for a few days this summer – but we all need a break at some point.

There are people, however, that are seriously addicted. And in the United States, a they’ve opened their first rehab center that will treat Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). There’s a 45 day program called reSTART that you may want to check out if you haven’t looked away from this computer for the past 24 hours (or, if you’re just reading this on a break from playing XBOX 360 for 2 days straight).

© 2009 reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program

© 2009 reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program

So, how can you tell if you need to be admitted into the reSTART program? First off, the program website asks: Are you spending too much time playing video games, texting, or using the computer? Maybe lots of us are – but in this case, you’ll have to be displaying symptoms of its nine guidelines for Internet Addiction Disorder, which include:

  1. You have a strong desire or impulse to use the internet.
  2. Decreasing or stopping of the internet leads to withdrawal symptoms (e.g. general malaise, restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, dyssomnia); and the above mentioned symptoms may be relieved by similar electronic media (e.g., TV, handheld games, gaming devices).
  3. Continually increasing the amount of internet use and the extent of internet involvement to reach sense of satisfaction.
  4. Use of internet in spite of its harmful effects; despite knowledge of harmful effects, internet use is hard to stop.
  5. Difficulties controlling beginning, and finishing, and the duration of time of internet use; efforts to modify internet use may be attempted multiple times without success.
  6. As a result of internet use, interests, recreation or social activities are decreased or abandoned.
  7. Internet use is seen as a way to escape problems or to gain relief from negative feelings.
  8. The extent of internet use is denied or minimized to teachers, schoolmates, friends or professionals (including actual time and expenditure of internet contact).
  9. Everyday life and social function is impaired (e.g. in social, academic and workability).

So if you’re reading this and a lightbulb just went off in your head, you can actually go ahead and take the survey: “Are you Internet or Technology Addicted?”. Just realize that the 45 days of rehab will cost around $14,500.

For now, I’ll just keep making websites, writing blog posts, posting on Twitter and Facebook until…