September 8, 2009

First U.S. internet addiction center opens in Washington

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In odder news, Nicholas K. Geranios of the Associated Press reportsin the Everett Herald that the first internet and video game addiction center in the United States has opened up in Washington State. The center, known as reSTART, is located in Fall City — just miles from Redmond, headquarters of Microsoft and Nintendo.

For $14,000, those displaying compulsive computer-use behavior, such as excessive use of video games, Facebook and Twitter, can enlist in a 45-day program to break the habit.

The term Internet Addiction Disorder (IDA), originally satirically coined by Dr. Ivan Goldberg, has gained attention in recent years as a possible distinct psychological disorder. While the American Psychiatric Association recognizes this classification, the medical community is still divided, and many insurance providers do not yet recognize it as a legitimate claim. This may change, however, as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, used to determine which mental disorders are to be covered by insurance, is due for renewal in 2012.

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