Not all psychiatrists are ready to call it an addiction, but for people who feel they can't live offline, Pennsylvania now has help: the country's first hospital-based rehab center for Internet addiction.
Psychologist Kimberly Young runs the new program at the Bradford Regional Medical Center, where Internet addiction is treated as a physical and mental problem and treated similarly to substance abuse addictions.
VIDEO: Are We All Internet Addicts?
Young says that the patients who will be admitted for a 10-day detox truly need it, and that Internet addiction may be more pervasive than alcoholism.
"It's like if you were to think of a heroin addict," she told Salon. "They are gaunt and sick almost."
Others disagree. The authority of the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM 5, doesn't include Internet addiction as a disorder.
"If the profession hasn't agreed upon it to the point where it's not in the book yet, how can you go about treating it in an in-patient setting? It's ridiculous," John M. Grohol, a psychologist and cofounder of Mental Health Net, told Salon. "If you find the right marketing methods, you're going to appeal to people's fears and find patients for your program."