Overcoming Internet Addiction

Addiction comes in various forms: for some it's alcohol or drugs, for others, it's the Internet. Some studies suggest that up to 10 percent of people online are addicted.

CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg visited one young man who sought treatment for his addiction to an online videogame after it consumed his life.

When Ben Alexander started college in Iowa last year, he quickly fell into a never-ending spiral with the online video game "World of Warcraft."

At the height of his addiction, Ben was playing 16 or 17 hours per day.

His Internet alter-ego was rewarded in ways that his real-life self was not. "People always commented on how quickly I was progressing and that was a source of a lot of pride when I was playing," Ben explained.

It was a temporary cure for his social anxiety. "I was a lot more outgoing in the game," he said.

In high school there was structure and rules, but once he lived in a dorm, self control became difficult.

"He said I'm not going to play after midnight, I'm not going to play during the day when I'm supposed to be in class," Ben's father recalled.

But eventually the countless hours spent online began to catch up with him. "I gradually came aware of the fact that he was very, very seriously involved with games," his dad added.

"About halfway through first semester in college I realized that if I kept doing what I was doing I was going to flunk out of college," Ben admitted.

Desperate for a solution, Ben came went to a rehab called reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program, where it's all about putting down the devices and walking away from the computer.

Just like a gambler would stay out of a casino, or an alcoholic out of a bar, in the reSTART program clients stay off the Internet and away from video games.

"There's a lot of time spent doing work around the house. Cooking, cleaning, doing chores, taking care of the animals," Ben said.

In addition to chores, daily counseling has helped the 19-year-old get back on track. "Having real meaningful social interaction is so much better than what I had in the game," he said.

The unique 45-day program only recently opened its doors, and Ben is the first person to visit. It cost $14,500.

"To have our son back, it's a bargain," Ben's dad said.

And for Ben, he sees it as valuable - a way to re-connect with what really matters. "Going back to college, and I think if I stay focused on that it shouldn't be a problem," he said.

Ben admits that one day he may want to go back to playing online, but for now he's working on getting back to his life before the Internet took over.

It's important to note that there is still not enough evidence to classify Internet addiction as a disorder.

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