It’s not exactly a scourge as severe as the bubonic plague, and not the same level health crisis as the H1N1 flu outbreak, but Internet Addiction Disorder stands the same chance as becoming just as notorious a pandemic.
A hospital in Rome has opened a clinic dedicated to treating patients of the growing disorder linked to the booming use of the Internet and characterized by the obsessive need to be online, reports Bloomberg.
Rome’s Policlinico Gemelli hospital opened the clinic yesterday and already is receiving patients. It’s not the fist such clinic in the world, as centers for IAD already exist in Japan, China and in the U.S. Bloomberg said the reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program in Fall City, Wash., near Microsoft Corp.’s headquarters opened in August. The hospital said about 10 percent of the users of Facebook are in risk of developing a dependency, and added that IAD can be linked to cyber-sex addiction, cyber-relational addiction, online shopping and gambling, information overload, computer addiction or an excessive involvement in virtual and role-playing games.
“The disorder is linked to the booming use of the Internet, especially among the younger generation,” Lucio D’Alessandris, a psychologist at the center, said in an interview. “Many of the patients have interpersonal problems: They don’t talk to their neighbors and hardly go out, but are online all night to chat with someone in, say, Nepal.”
- see this Bloomberg story