Back in the summer of 2005, an Internet addiction clinic opened in China, and by the following summer, a clinic opened in Amsterdam to treat video game addicts. Now, a similar clinic has recently opened its doors 13 miles away from Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
For $14,500--or the cost of an 80.6-year World of Warcraft monthly subscription--the reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program now provides a 45-day intensive care program for game, Internet, and texting addicts. Patients can receive psychotherapy, 12-step group counseling, "nutritional education," personalized fitness plans, and "high adventure outings" around the facility's rural forested landscape.
"The reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program is specifically oriented toward launching tech dependent youth and adults back into the real world," the clinic's online mission statement states. "Our individually tailored program is designed to assist participants with an Internet and/or computer-based behavioral addiction to break the cycle of dependency. Our 45-day abstinence-based recovery program exposes participants to a variety of activities and everyday life skills, which are often avoided or underdeveloped as a result of excessive ongoing computer, video game play, and Internet use."
Earlier this month, a study of 552 Americans by the US Center for Disease Control--conducted in the area around reSTART--found that those who game are more likely to be overweight and suffer mental health problems. In July, a British psychiatrist said he plans to assemble fellow therapists to enter the online game World of Warcraft to treat in-game addicts.
For more on gaming addiction, read GameSpot's extensive feature on the subject.