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Internet Addiction Can Be A Serious Problem

Internet addiction is becoming enough of a concern that a Pennsylvania facility has opened the country's first hospital-based internet addiction rehab program. Experts are debating whether specialty rehab is really necessary, but obsessive internet use can lead to some legitimate health concerns.

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It’s easy to blame Twitter and Facebook- but problems with internet addiction surfaced well before social media.  Rollins College Communications Associate Professor Ted Gournelos says it’s an established phenomenon- most notable  in Japan called where it’s called hikikomori. It usually afflicts young men who become so entrenched in the internet that they develop severe agoraphobia. It’s a problem that the industry itself recognizes. Gournelos says at a recent tech conference in Stockholm, there was a big emphasis on stepping away from the mobile device and engaging with real people.

“So what we found is that the first people to understand that this could be a problem are actually the tech people, because they recognize that innovation really depends on conversation,” he says.

Gournelos says other health risks associated with internet addiction include carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity and deep vein thrombosis. He says the time to be concerned is when someone shows a preference for being online over having face to face interaction with people.  He says, however, that specialty counseling might not necessary and that internet addiction can be treated like any other addition.  


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