Internet Addiction Disorder: Is It Real?

Doctors in San Diego have diagnosed the first Internet Addiction Disorder connected to the overuse of Google Glass. A patient checked into the U.S. Navy’s Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) for alcoholism treatment and experienced severe withdrawal symptoms. Initially, doctors thought these symptoms were related solely to alcoholism, however, it was revealed that he was also experiencing difficulties because of his withdrawal from Google Glass. This man has been wearing this technology for up to 18 hours a day, using it at work and only taking it off to sleep or to bathe. The man even told the treatment providers that his withdrawal symptoms for Google Glass were significantly worse than for alcoholism.

When the therapist would ask him a question, he would have this repeated movement of placing his index finger to the right side of face, similar to trying to turn on the Glass,” Doctor Doan said.

The patient often used Google Glass to enhance his performance at work as well. Fortunately, after a 35-day treatment, he is experiencing fewer withdrawal symptoms. Some psychologist argue whether technology addiction really underlies other behavioral conditions or is an actual disorder. The US Navy patient, for example, was suffering from other disorders as well, including depression, OCD and social anxiety.

Doan expects to see more cases of addiction and behavioral disorders related to technology. However, more research in this area is necessary.

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

It is important to note, however, that there is nothing inherently wring with Google Glass. It simply provides “short rushes” for people who want to briefly escape from reality and technology makes this easy. Google did not immediately comment on or respond to this case.

Read more here – “Google Glass User Treated for Internet Addiction Caused by the Device,” (Azeen Ghorayshi, The Guardian).

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Anna is a current student at The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a concentration in Marketing and Communication. She specializes in social media outreach and has experience working in government contracting.


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