“Doctor, doctor! Give me the news, I got a… bad case of Tweeting you…and liking every Instagram you post…and not being able to finish a meal without refreshing Facebook. Help!” Yes, that’s our unofficial Robert Palmer 2014 Remix, but it might be a tune some (um, all?) of us have sung before. And if you think Internet Addiction is a THING (even if doctors and experts can’t agree) there is somewhere you can go for help: the world’s first ever Internet Emergency Room in Stockholm, Sweden. Yeah, you heard us right.
Patrik Wincent is the McDreamy of the Internet ER, the founder and a licensed therapist who previously worked at — where else? — an emergency room for video game addicts. In a phone interview with Vice, Patrik spoke about our mobile substance abuse issues and the way his facility is trying to treat them. They’ve adapted the common 12-step program and use spiritual therapy, like meditation, in a mobile detox program, a stimulant fast and something called a “white month.” That last one brings a straight jacket and padded walled room to mind, but a mobile detox wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to us. In the end, Patrik and team aren’t looking for you to give up your digital life altogether. They just want to help you find a good, healthy balance of IRL and real… real life.
Not convinced? Patrik says his center receives about 10 to 15 calls a day and that most of them come from women. According to him, that’s because women use social media more (true) and differently: more Instagram, more selfies, more ways that can become abusive.
And if a trip to Sweden and the Internet ER is unrealistic, you could always try the new Social Media Guard…
So what do YOU think: is Internet addiction real or really overblown? If you could check someone in your life into www.rehab.com/rightnow, who would it be?