The Behavioral Health Services at Bradford Regional Medical Center, a psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania, is set to open the nation’s first in-hospital treatment for people obsessed by the internet. For a mere $14,000, patients get a 10 day program designed by professional head shrinkers with experience treating addictions to drugs and alcohol.
But many professionals are wary of using the term “addiction” (note the quote marks this time) when it comes to people’s inability to resist the lure of cat videos and keeping up on the what their Facebook friends had for dinner. Dr. Allen Frances, the chairman of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders a.k.a. the encyclopedia of insanity) and professor emeritus at Duke University said the disorder “wasn’t ready for primetime.”
Speaking of “primetime” most readers of this blog (including the authors!) are too young to remember when “TV addiction” was the fear sweeping the nation. Here’s a taste from a 1971 New York Times article entitled “Are You Hooked — By TV?” :
“…some addicts have shrunk into a schizophrenic state, withdrawing totally into the television world.”
If you want to read more, you’ll have to use the… gasp… internet.