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U.S. hospital to launch 1st in-patient internet addiction program

 Do you know anyone who might qualify for an inpatient internet addiction treatment centre? Would you ever check in yourself? (iStock) A psychiatric hospital in Pennsylvania will soon open a new in-patient internet addiction program - the first of its kind in the United States or Canada.

Set to launch on Sept. 9 at the Bradford Regional Medical Center in Central Pennsylvania, the 10-day voluntary program will see up to four adult patients at a time living within the hospital's walls while working to recover from what they say is a debilitating dependence on the web.

Internet addiction has yet to be recognized as an official disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but this makes the compulsion to go online no less real -- or damaging -- to those who are addicted to the net, according to program founder Dr. Kimberly Young.

"[Internet addiction] is a problem in this country that can be more pervasive than alcoholism," she told Fox News.

"The internet is free, legal and fat-free." Designed by specialists with backgrounds in drug and alcohol addiction, the $14,000 program (not covered by any major insurance provider) will include group therapy, full psychological evaluations, and a 72-hour "digital detox" for patients.

During this detox, a patient will be cut off from all computer use - a process that Young says can be harrowing for addicts, causing depression, irritability and even violence.

Now, before you start Googling around for admission forms, please note that Young was sure to caution in her interview that "mere dependence on modern technology does not make someone an internet addict."

The Bradford Regional Medical Center program is not designed for teenage smartphone clutchers or Farmville fans, but for people whose lives are unmanageable thanks to their obsession with the internet.

Do you know anyone who might qualify for an inpatient internet addiction treatment centre? Would you ever check in yourself? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
 

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