reSTART internet addiction treatment center for computer internet and video gaming addicts, people who are addicted to the internet or playing video games, has opened its first rehab residential treatment program in the U.S. Commonly referred to as Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), the reSTART treatment center opened its doors in August 2009 with its first patient, 19-year-old Ben Alexander of Iowa City.
reSTART, described as a 45-day video game and Internet addiction recovery program, is located in Fall City, Washington, about 30 miles east of Seattle. An admitted gaming addict, Alexander became so addicted to the online fantasy game World of Warcraft that he would spend more than 16 hours a day glued to the computer game, skipping meals and sleep for the sake of playing the game.
In an interview with Time, Alexander says he became so addicted to playing video games that “It was pretty much all I was doing when I was in college.” After unsuccessfully trying to wean himself off of the addictive game and nearly failing school, he “had a moment of clarity” and asked his dad for help. Before discovering reSTART, Alexander checked into an addiction treatment center in Eastern Washington but that didn’t help, and then went to a wilderness adventure program in Utah, all to no avail.
Internet Addiction Treatment Centers
Ironically located less than 15 miles from Microsoft’s Redmond Headquarters, the Heavensfield Retreat Center (reSTART) is a 5-acre wooden retreat with a 3,500 square foot craftsman house, Western red cedar treehouses, chicken coops, and goat pens. For a whopping cost of just $15,500 for the 45-day stay (including application, screening and treatment fees) internet and gaming addicts are cut off from the web… cold turkey.
The reSTART website (www.netaddictionrecovery.com) says inpatient treatment for internet addiction includes working with a therapist, a recreation coach, yoga and exercise instructors, nature hikes, household chores, career development and other activities in an effort to “reprogram” patients and rid them of their addiction to the internet or online gaming.
Even though Internet addiction or video game addiction is not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) doesn’t make these addictions less serious and real, especially in the lives and families affected by Internet Addiction Disorder.
Unfortunately, Internet addiction is not recognized as a separate disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, and treatment is not covered by insurance. But there are many treatment centers for internet addiction in China, South Korea and Taiwan — where Internet addiction is taken very seriously — and many psychiatric experts say it is clear that Internet addiction is real and harmful.
ReSTART is run by psychotherapists Cosette Dawna Rae and Hilarie Cash, authors of Video Games & Your Kids: How Parents Stay in Control, who believe Internet addiction and gaming are no less addictive than other seemingly harmless activities, such as gambling. Since helping her first patient overcome an addiction to a role-playing computer game fifteen years ago, Cash re-focused her practice to treating patients who are compulsive Internet and gaming addicts to the point where their they stop eating and sleeping properly, risk losing their jobs, marriages and relationships are ruined, plus various potentially serious health problems (including death). The harmful effects of internet addiction or video game addiction cannot be ignored any longer – if you or your kids are showing symptoms of addiction, act now.
The signs of internet or gaming addiction cannot be ignored, and if you or your children are addicted to video games or the internet itself, can you afford the cost of going to reSTART or any other internet treatment centers that pop up around the U.S. or other countries?
Think about it. How much time do you or your children spend online, whether it be social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, online virtual worlds like Second Life, silly Facebook games like Yoville or Mafia Wars, amongst others? Could you, someone you love, or your children be addicted to the internet or video games and not even realize it?
It’s time to get a life. A real life.