Program available for patients with Internet addiction

PENNSYLVANIA -- Alcohol and drugs are often the major causes for inpatient treatment for addiction. But one hospital believes that the Internet is another source of serious addiction that requires serious treatment.

Many joke that they cannot put down their smartphone. But some experts say there are those who really need help. Starting this week, people have the option of seeing a professional. The country's first in-patient Internet addiction treatment center has opened in Pennsylvania.

The Bradford Regional Medical Center offers a ten-day program for those who have been diagnosed with Internet addiction. Experts say the addiction prevents them from functioning in life normally.

First the patients will go through a digital detox: a period when they are prohibited from using all devices and the Internet for 72 hours. Next, the patient goes through therapy sessions and seminars. The fee for the program is $14,000. Internet addition is not classified as a mental illness in the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM). That means the cost is not covered by insurance.

The founder of the plan, Dr. Kimberley Young, says she hopes the program will help dispel questions about whether Internet addiction is real. Young says the goal for patients is not to completely avoid the Internet, but to get to a place where the patient can get online in a healthy, practical way.

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