New clinics treat a high tech addiction Show Notes

Thursday, September 19, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Are you addicted to the internet?  Good news—now there is a hospital program just for you! 

According to Reuters, a new clinic treating the growing number of Americans addicted to the Internet has opened in Bradford, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kimberly Young is a psychologist who heads the program at Bradford Regional Medical Center near Pittburgh.  She says in the past 10 years she has privately treated thousands of people who can’t control their online activity.

Dr. Young says "A lot of countries do prevention and education surrounding this issue, and we Americans are just starting to think in those terms.”

South Korea and China are actually leaders in treating internet addiction

Dr. Young calls the Internet a "new outlet for traditional addictions," including pornography, shopping and gambling.  At the same time, she says, the Web allows for new and unique behaviors, such as compulsive use of social media.

Illinois has had an inpatient treatment program for internet addiction since the mid 1990’s

Dr. David Greenfield a psychiatrist at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, prescribes installation of website blocking and monitoring software for his patients' computers.

Dr. Greenfield says "Patients' social skills atrophy, and they don't know how to live in a real time world," said Greenfield. He asks his patients to list 100 things they can do in the "real world" rather than reading their Facebook feeds, fussing with their Apple iPhones or escaping into their Microsoft Xbox games.

Among the physical threats posed by Internet addiction are obesity, carpal tunnel syndrome and deep vein thrombosis, he said.

To learn more about this story, go to Reuters.com and enter “internet addiction” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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