Even though the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual did not include internet addiction in its pages, that does not mean that this type of disorder does not exist.
For the first time ever, a 31-year-old Navy serviceman was treated for internet addiction that was provoked by his use of Google Glass. Some of his symptoms included using the device for 18 hours each day, and growing “irritable and argumentative” when he was not wearing the device. In addition, all his dreams were seen in the vantage point from Google Glass.
Interestingly enough, the patient did not initially go into treatment for an internet addiction, rather for treatment for alcoholism. Entering into the US Naval program Sarp (Substance Abuse and Recovery Programme), the 31-year-old was quickly diagnosed with Internet addiction when he first arrived to the facility, as he showed a continuation of symptoms such as involuntary movements, cravings, memory problems, etc. He would even tap his right temple repetitively as if to turn on the Google Glass device.
While the type of treatment was not divulged, it can be assumed that the 31-year-old patient underwent some of the most common forms of treatment for internet and/or other behavioral addictions. The most effective forms of care often include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, individual psychotherapy and group therapy. In addition, family members of an internet addict might be invited into the treatment process to help support their loved one as they continue to change their negative behaviors.
For this patient in particular, his 35 days spent in treatment proved to be beneficial for his Google Glass internet addiction. Clinicians reported that his level of irritability had decreased, the tapping of his temple was lessened, and he had experienced significant improvements in terms of his short-term memory function.
As for becoming an “official” diagnosable disorder, internet addiction still might have a ways to go. However, with the update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in the Spring of 2013, gambling addiction was included – another popular behavioral addiction such as internet addiction.
The US navy serviceman was referred to a 12-Step Program for continued care of alcoholism and his internet addiction. It was reported that he was on the right track upon leaving the facility, as well as “hopeful” for his future. His current progress in recovery is unclear, as Sarp has not heard from him since his departure.