East Texans could be suffering from Internet addiction

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania will become the first hospital to offer inpatient treatment for Internet addiction.

Over the last 20 years, Internet addiction has become more common.

While it is not considered a diagnosed condition by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, many doctors are starting to see more and more appearances of it.

Screen Geek's owner, Matt Davis claims to be addicted to the Internet.

"we're bombarded by it 24/7," Davis said. "There is no escaping the Internet."

When Davis is not using his phone for surfing the web, he fixing other phones.

"They cannot be without their phone when we take it to the back," Davis said.  "It is the end of the world to them for us to take it to the back for 15 minutes."

Internet addiction has been study since 1995.

Professional Councilor, Dr. Debra Burton said that she has started to see more cases of prolonged Internet activity hurting real life relationships.

"We see the cyber sexting which is an addictive behavior," Burton said. "What I see a lot of times is affairs starting on the Internet."

Burton said it is important to notice the signs.

"Is it interfering with your day to day life, with your relationships, with your work, with your school work?" Burton said. "These are all signs."

Just like the Internet is here to stay, so is the term Internet addiction.

"We are going to see that term used more and more and I think what we just need to realize is we need to let this become an awareness," Burton said.

Burton added that it is important to set up rules and time boundaries for Internet usage by teens and younger children.

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