Ten years ago, Kevin Roberts suffered from an addiction that took over his life. Roberts, now 44 years old, would sit eight to 12 hours a day in front of the pale blue glow of his computer, playing a videogame. During holidays, he “binged,” spending nearly all his waking hours at his keyboard.
Finally, a friend who had been through Alcoholics Anonymous told him he displayed all the same characteristics of an addict. “Like most addicts, I went through a series of self-deception,” said Roberts, who documented his struggle with addiction in his book, “Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap.”
The story of Roberts, who came to grips with his addiction through years of therapy and spiritual retreats, is not unique. Treatment facilities have sprung up in recent years, but a psychiatric hospital in central Pennsylvania is now set to become the country’s first facility of its kind to offer an inpatient treatment program for people it diagnoses with severe Internet addiction.
The voluntary, 10-day program is set to open on Sept. 9 at the Behavioral Health Services at Bradford Regional Medical Center. The program was organized by experts in the field and cognitive specialists with backgrounds in treating more familiar addictions like drug and alcohol abuse.
“Internet addiction is a problem in this country that can be more pervasive than alcoholism,” said Dr. Kimberly Young, the psychologist who founded the non-profit program. “The Internet is free, legal and fat free.”
Gaming addition is becoming more prevalent. We need to help children learn balance. We have two excellent resources to help parents and educators: