When Internet Addiction Disorder was first introduced in 1995, no one was supposed to take it seriously. Dr. Ivan Goldberg developed the diagnosis as satire and no one got the joke. Almost two decades later, a doctor’s failed attempt at comedy writing describes a disease that actually seems legit and common.
Internet addiction is not yet officially recognized by the DSM-V, which the American Psychiatric Association uses to define and diagnose mental illnesses. That hasn't stopped a variety of treatment options from emerging; it just stops your insurance from paying for it. But if you have the means and motivation to break your Snapchat cravings, here are your options.
Dr. Kimberly Young was the first to develop a treatment model for internet addiction using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Harm Reduction Therapy when she founded the Center For Internet Addiction in 1995. CBT is a form of talk therapy that's “problem-focused” and “goal-directed,” while HRT is a type of substance abuse treatment that focuses on reducing the negative impact of your addiction rather than abstaining. (They can’t expect you to be completely internet-free when part of the therapy is offered via Skype.)
Hourly sessions are $120 with a range of possible additional fees, depending on your individual assessment.
2. Inpatient programs
Dr. Young more recently founded the first internet addiction clinic at the Bradford Regional Center in Pennsylvania. The inpatient program starts at 10 days, but can be up to a three-week stay depending on the level of addiction. Each patient begins with a 72-hour "digital detox," and might experience withdrawal symptoms. You won't even be able to check how many people liked your status about checking into computer rehab!
Psychologist Dr. David Greenfield offers several intensive programs, which last up to five days and focus on areas such as online video games or internet porn. Porn addicts may require a different course of action than gaming addicts (and that's not just because they've never had sex). Everyone is different.
4. Online support groups
The irony of using an online support group to cope with internet addiction might be lost on some, and that's probably why they exist at all -- threads are comprised of people getting sucked into yet another online community.
Instead, depending on the specific type of internet addiction you struggle with, maybe go to support groups where you can meet IRL such as Sex Addicts Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. Also, when it's your turn to speak, don't introduce yourself with your screen name.
5. A $22,000+ wilderness retreat
In 2009 the first retreat center for "problematic Internet, video game, and technology use," called reSTART, opened at the Heavensfield Retreat Center in Fall City, Washington. The 45-day program -- complete with life coaching, 12-step meetings and spiritual recovery -- starts at $22,000 and goes up from there if additional treatment is ordered. But with five acres of trails and forest, seeing sunlight without an Instagram filter can be pretty enlightening.