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16 September 2013

Pennsylvania: Bradford Regional Medical Center Launches Nation's First Hospital-Based Internet Addiction Program

Internet addiction is no joke – not in Switzerland either. Geneva’s university hospital has a department which deals with addictions, including the Internet. Following this article is a description of the Bradford Regional Medical Center’s program which serves those 18 years of age and older.

Internet detox program
by Staff, Relaxnews, 5 September 2013

Internet addiction is no joke -- and now the U.S. is opening the nation's first hospital-based Internet addiction program in Pennsylvania.

Opening Sept. 9, Bradford Regional Medical Center in Bradford, Pa., has been garnering plenty of media buzz for its voluntary 10-day program for people with serious Internet issues. While a slew of "digital detox" programs are offered in the country, this program can intervene with medication, if needed, to treat withdrawal symptoms and diagnose and treat the underlying issues that often accompany the problem.

Research has found that Internet addicts and drug addicts experience similar withdrawal symptoms, especially when going cold turkey. A 2006 study by Stanford University's School of Medicine found that nearly one in eight Americans suffers from at least one sign of "problematic Internet use" -- such as the inability to stop looking at their phones or computers for an extended period of time. A Harvard University study last year also found that posting views on Facebook and other social media sites triggers the release of dopamine, the same pleasure-inducing chemical emitted by the brain when a person ingests cocaine or methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is introducing a novel solution to the country's half a million web-addicted teens: Internet "fasting camps," where kids can enjoy the great outdoors, no gadgets allowed. According to a report in The Japan Times, Japan's Education Ministry plans to set up the camps next year, offering addicted students a chance to unplug from their computers and smartphones, enjoy some time in the real world, and face their addictions head-on with tablet-free counseling sessions and lectures.


Bradford Regional Medical Center Launches Nation’s First Hospital-Based Internet Addiction Program

Posted on: 09/04/2013

Bradford Regional Medical Center has launched the first hospital-based Internet addiction treatment and recovery program in the United States as part of BRMC’s Behavioral Health Services division.

The Internet Addiction Treatment and Recovery Program is an intensive 10-day digital treatment and stabilization program under the care of a multidisciplinary medical team. The program is intended for individuals who have been unsuccessful in overcoming Internet addiction on their own and serves those 18 years of age and older.

Kimberly Young, Psy.D., an internationally-renowned expert in Internet addiction treatment serves as the Program Director. Young is a licensed psychologist and a professor at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY. She has published numerous research articles, book chapters, and the first book to identify Internet addiction

“I’ve studied Internet addiction since 1995,” Young said. “Back then, people laughed when I told them what I did. Today, it is incredible to see my life’s work become a reality that will help so many people in need of treatment.”

Dr. Young, a touted pioneer in the field had the idea to start the treatment center years ago. “I received calls every week asking if I knew of a clinic or hospital to treat this condition but there weren’t any in the US,” she said

Internet addiction has become an epidemic and public health crisis in countries such as China, Korea, and Taiwan but only recently has Internet addiction been recognized in the U.S. as a serious problem. In May of 2013, Internet Gaming Disorder was included in Section 3 of the DSM-V, the bible of American psychiatric medicine.

In the medical field, addiction commonly relates to dependency on drug, alcohol or tobacco use. However, the growth of the Internet has created both the benefit of instantaneous communication and the problem of a growing dependency by people who have become “hooked” on electronic gaming and other online applications. Like other forms of addiction, Internet addiction is consuming and, in some cases, ruining lives.

“In consultation with Dr. Young, we have developed an innovative and timely program to address this very real and serious disorder,” said Dr. Roger Laroche, M.D., D.A.B.A.M., medical director of Behavioral Health Services at BRMC. “Utilizing specialized techniques, patients receive psychiatric evaluations, medically supervised treatment, individual and group psychotherapy, and family consultation.”

In serious cases, treatment is necessary before recovery from Internet addiction can begin. Addicts suffering repeated relapse or denial first need a structured, therapeutic environment to initially understand and accept compulsive online behavior.

“BRMC is proud to launch the first program of its kind in the US,” said Timothy J. Finan, President and CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System, parent company of Bradford Regional Medical Center. “Our mission is to help others and we have a vision to offer a national program that will help so many with state-of-the-art facilities and a team of qualified experts.”

For more information call 1.800.446.2583


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