A psychiatric hospital in central Pennsylvania looks to be the first facility in the U.S. to treat patients diagnosed with severe Internet addiction. Starting Sept. 9, the Behavioral Health Services department at the Bradford Regional Medical Center will offer a voluntary, 10-day program modeled after programs for drug and alcohol abuse.
The Internet addiction program will accommodate four patients at a time. Classes will include group therapy and instruct patients on how to minimize Internet usage by avoiding addicting websites and apps.
But this clinic isn’t made for people who compulsively use social media or maybe spend a bit too much time on a video game. Severe Internet addiction applies to people who have let their obsession with the Internet take away their ability to function in daily life. These people can spend entire days at a time on the Internet and are unable to quit.
The program costs $14,000 and is not covered by insurance. Patients first go through a “digital detox” before they undergo a psychological evaluation. During the detox, the patient is unable to connect to the Internet in any way for 72 hours.
The program was founded by Dr. Kimberly Young, who told Fox News that Internet addiction in the U.S. can be more pervasive than alcoholism.
“The Internet is free, legal and fat free,” Young said.
Just consider how many people use Facebook. In the company's most recent earnings report, Facebook reported that it had 699 million daily active users spending an average of 20 billion minutes on Facebook every day.