Google Glass-induced internet addiction treated by psychiatrists

Man reports, what is thought to be, the first case of internet addiction brought on by use of Google Glass

A man said to be suffering from internet addiction brought on by his Google Glass device has been treated by scientists.

The man had been wearing the device for work, often using it for around 18 hours a day, and said he had started to feel uncomfortable when not wearing it. He would only remove the headset when sleeping and washing, and reportedly even began to experience dreams as if he still had it on.

Details of the case have been published in the Addictive Behaviours science journal.

Though this is thought to be the first case of someone becoming addicted to Google Glass specifically, the idea of internet addiction has been gaining prominence among psychiatrists for some time. The disorder was not, however, included in the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The man in question had actually checked into the US navy's Substance Abuse and Recovery Programme (Sarp) last year for treatment for alcoholism. While there, however, doctors noticed he had begun to mimic the movement of turning on the Google Glass headset, despite electronic devices being confiscated.

Dr Andrew Doan, head of addictions and resilience research at Sarp, said: "[He was] going through withdrawal from his Google Glass... The Google Glass withdrawal was greater than the alcohol withdrawal he was experiencing.

"People used to believe alcoholism wasn't a problem they blamed the person or the people around them. It's just going to take a while for us to realise that this is real."

The problem with Google Glass is specific, Doan continues, as the associated reward necessary to create compulsive behaviours is constantly available.

"There's nothing inherently bad about Google Glass," he says. "It's just that there is very little time between these rushes. So for an individual who's looking to escape, for an individual who has underlying mental dysregulation, for people with a predisposition for addiction, technology provides a very convenient way to access these rushes."

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