Internet has become a parallel universe for a lot of people who just can't imagine their lives without it. But now, the excessive use of internet has given birth to a new and disturbing phenomenon called Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).
It is not currently included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but many argue that addictions to the web and to Internet-based video games like World of Warcraft does indeed exist.
The Heavensfield Retreat Center has announced that it has opened its first addiction recovery program for Internet Addiction Disorder in the U.S. Called reSTART.
The 45-day programme is designed to take serious sufferers of IAD and bring balance to their lives. It already has its first patient, a 19 year old who could not remove himself from World of Warcraft.
reSTART is a 45-day treatment programme that takes 2-6 people at a time and cuts them off from the web and works with them to “reprogramme” their social skills. It includes work with a recreation coach, a therapist, exercise and yoga instructors, and more. Their website actually provides a detailed sample schedule, which includes exercise, nature hikes, “discovery quests,” career development, therapy, and more.
The internet addict will have following symptoms:
1. He/She'll 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.)