Nation's first Internet addiction facility opens in Fall City - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Nation's first Internet addiction facility opens in Fall City

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FALL CITY, Wash. - China, South Korea and Japan have several already and now the first in-patient treatment center for internet addiction is launching in Fall City, Washington. 

Ben Alexander, a 19-year-old from Iowa City, whose parents tried everything before finding this program is the program's first patient.

At the reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program, he feels a world away from his gaming addiction.

"My game of choice was 'World of Warcraft,'" said Alexander.

He played so much, it started affecting his schoolwork.

"I'd have all these rationalizations of, well, it's not a big deal to just miss this one class," he said.

One class turned into several and he eventually withdrew from college.

"I would play until I fell asleep on my keyboard," he said.

His parents struggled to find appropriate help.

Initially he went to a substance and alcohol abuse program, even though he didn't have that kind of addiction.

"It was kind of hard to really relate to the other people there," he said.

His parents finally found reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program.

It's the first of its kind in the U.S., specifically aimed at treating people who are addicted to the Internet.

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," said Rae.

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.

"What are they avoiding? What are they using the Internet to numb out for?" said Rae.

Alexander was once interested in biology and animals, so now he helps with taking care of the goats, chickens and other animals on the reSTART property.

Cross country running is also something Alexander used to enjoy 'pre-gaming', so it is again part of his daily routine at reSTART.

Alexander knows the internet will likely be a part of life down the road, but he believes he's finally found a balance in Fall City.

"I'm not able to say, oh, I'm never going to be online ever again," he said, "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.

They do have a few scholarships available now, based upon need.
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