GQ and the messed up lives of video game addicts

Inside the leading center for people addicted to video games GQ Videogame ReSTART

GQ Magazine Interview | Ben Dolnick | September 30, 2016

Often too ashamed to tell friends and family, those with process addictions keep their stories secret. In this in-depth interview, Ben Dolnick visits with several clients from reSTART to learn about their struggles, what brought them to the center, what treatment looks like, and how they plan to balance their lives in recovery. Dolnick sums up his experience by using a quote by 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Nevertheless, one client reports summarizes his reason for enrolling in reSTART this way: "At some point, I handed over my life to a machine."


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How does reSTART treat gaming addiction?

An Interview with Polygon | Blake Hester restart heavensfield105

September 28, 2016

Blake Hester recently interviewed Dr. Hilarie Cash about what motivated her, and her partners Cosette Rae and Gary Simmons to open the nation's first center for Internet and video game addiction in Fall City, Washington. Hilarie discusses with Blake, what motivated her and Rae to open reSTART after both practitioners began recognizing symptoms of process addiction in their respective clients. "The common denominator in the patients we were seeing was the Internet," says Cash. However, what's even more profound is the story told by those addicted to tech. Blake visited with a young man willing to share his struggles with video games that nearly ruined his life. 

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The dark cost of the Internet

The social and emotional cost of tech ryder videogame addiction 2

Washington Post Interview | Hayley Tsukayama | May 20, 2016

Hayley Tsukayama explores the toll the Internet is taking on young people in an interview with Dr. Hilarie Cash, Ph.D., co-founder of the reSTART  program in Fall City, WA. Not surprising to those in the field, are the descriptions users share of their experiences with the dark side of the Internet. "Totally dependent," says a young man seeking treatment for his chronic videogame play. Another describes his descent into homelessness, and his sheer determination to rebuild his life after addiction to online video games. Experts agree that videogame addiction and those suffering from problematic Internet use share many of the same symptoms as those with other addictions. (Photo Credit: David Ryder/Washington Post)

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Caught in the Web

Nicole Gibillini, The Gazette

Caught in the Web

Twenty-eight-year-old Brett is addicted to the Internet—everything from surfing the web for news, politics and forums to playing World of Warcraft. Brett says his addiction began at 13, but he only sought professional help about a year ago. After being away from the web for only an hour, Walker would start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. “I had my iPhone and was pretty much always connected,” he recalls. “It was like a disease—it went into so many parts of my life.”

Internet Addiction Disorder refers to excessive amount of Internet use that interferes with daily life. It affects about six to 13 per cent of the American population as a whole. The rate of addiction jumps to 13 to 19 per cent for people aged 18 to 28.

Symptoms of IAD include increasing amounts of time spent on the Internet and failed attempts to control behaviour. People with IAD have a heightened sense of euphoria while on the computer, constantly craving more time on the web.

Most people—especially students—are frequently connected to the web, but are unaware of the consequences. According to Internet addiction specialist Hilarie Cash, IAD is a growing concern. In 2009, Cash founded reSTART, the first Internet and gaming addiction recovery program in North America. The clinic, located in Washington, offers a program for video game or Internet addicts aged 18 to 38.

Even though Brett sought professional help for depression last year, he called reSTART only eight weeks ago to work with therapists specializing in Internet addiction. He says he needed to confront the issues he’d been escaping through the Internet.

“It takes over your life—you’re not really yourself,” Brett explains. “People hold opinions of you that you don’t think accurately describe you, but then you realize that the person they see you as is who you are because that’s how you’re acting.”


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This is your brain online

By Rob Spiegel


01/12/12 12:53 PM PT

Maybe the Internet won't exactly fry your brain, but it could change it in other unwelcome ways. A new study found a correlation between Internet addiction and specific brain changes often observed in alcoholics and drug addicts. There was evidence of disruption to the connections in the nerve fibers that connect brain areas involved in emotions, decision making and self-control.

Too many hours of Internet use might actually change your brain. Researchers in China have concluded that those who are addicted to the Internet may experience changes in the brain that are similar to those seen in individuals hooked on drugs or alcohol.

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