October 17, 2014

First case of internet addiction diagnosed

A thirty-one year old Navy serviceman is the first person to be diagnosed with an internet addiction, according to a new study published in the journal Addictive Medicine.

The man checked into treatment for alcoholism, but found that giving up his Google Glasses was more difficult than giving up drinking. The patient had physical ticks – including tapping his temple – that had resulted from his using the Google Glass up to 18 hours every day, and even began dreaming though the lenses of the glasses.

“He said the Google Glass withdrawal was greater than the alcohol withdrawal he was experiencing,” said Dr. Andrew Doan, head of addictions and resilience research with the Navy’s addiction services and co-author of the paper on the patient.

Internet addiction disorder is not recognized as a clinical diagnosis in the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the official reference guide to the field. But Doan believes internet addiction is real, and it is only a matter of time before research and treatment catch up.

“People used to believe alcoholism wasn’t a problem—they blamed the person or the people around them,” he said. “It’s just going to take a while for us to realize that this is real.”


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