We live in a society of screens. Most people can't go a day without their smartphones and spend their day staring at a computer screen at work before ending the night off with some time in front of the TV.
Because of our addiction to screens, many people can't go without the Internet for a few hours. And thanks to wearable devices like Google Glass, people can spend an entire day connected to the virtual world. But could this lead to a new level of Internet addiction?
Addiction comes in many forms, from substance abuse to gambling. And now, "Internet addiction disorder" is something that is seriously treated. According to a new study, doctors are treating a man for the first case of Google Glass addiction.
A 31-year-old man who checked into the Navy's Substance Abuse and Recovery Program for alcohol addiction is also being treated for his addiction to Google Glass.
Published in Addictive Behaviors, San Diego doctors noticed the man "exhibited problematic use of Google Glass," which caused "a notable, nearly involuntary movement of the right hand up to his temple area and tapping it with his forefinger."
Those who use Google Glass become used to tapping their finger near their temples to control Google Glass features. The man continued this motion, even when he wasn't wearing the device.
With a history of substance abuse, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, the doctors reported that the man used his Google Glass for up to 18 hours each day for a period of two months. He admitted himself for treatment in September 2013.
"He reported that if he had been prevented from wearing the device while at work, he would become extremely irritable and argumentative," the doctors write.
The tech eyewear allows users to go online, take photos and videos and send messages, all using voice control or the side touchpad.
Users who repeatedly wear Google Glass can suffer from headaches and decreased awareness.
The man spent 35 days in treatment, but continued to "intermittently experience dreams as if looking through the device." However, he no longer moved his hand to his temple and felt less irritable.
The American Psychiatric Association does not classify Internet addiction as a mental illness, and the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not classify it as a disorder. However, the first Internet addiction treatment facility was opened in the U.S. last year to offer treatment for addicts.