Iowa City teen at internet addiction center - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City teen at internet addiction center

FALL CITY, WA (KWWL) - Lots of us spend more time surfing the internet than we should -- choosing Facebook over cleaning or sleeping!
But you can actually be addicted to the internet and video games, and now the first in-patient treatment center has opened in Fall City, Washington.

It already has its first patient:  a teenager from Iowa City whose parents tried everything before finding this program.

19-year-old Ben alexander is a long way from home. 
At Restart Internet Addiction Recovery Program in Fall City, he feels a world away from his gaming addiction.

Ben became so addicted he neglected his schoolwork and eventually withdrew from college:  "I would play until i fell asleep on my keyboard."

Restart is believed to be the first treatment center of its kind in the U.S.

Co-founder Cosette Rae saw the need in her job as a social worker.   "Concerns like their children would be gaming 16, 17 hours a day; that they stopped bathing; that they would just eat at the computer."

Rae launched the new six-bed facility with Dr. Hilarie Cash, who specializes in internet addiction. The 45-day program works to launch tech-addicted people back into the real world.

Ben is interested in biology and animals, so the staff is working to reconnect him with that, along with cross country running -- something he used to enjoy pre-gaming.

Ben knows the internet will likely be a part of life down the road, but he believes he's finally found a balance.   "I'm not going to be able to say, 'Oh, I'm never going to be online again' or anything like that, but at this point I'm not really worried about it."

The Restart Center offers individualized plans to treat a number of internet issues.
The program is not covered by insurance and runs about $14,500 for 45 days.
The center does have a few scholarships available now, based upon need.


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