Alumni Messenger

07/12/2012

Saybrook University Alumna Dr. Hilarie Cash Asks, Should Internet Obsession be Considered an Addiction Disorder?

Dr. Hilarie Cash
Dr. Hilarie Cash

Saybrook University Psychology Alumna Dr. Hilarie Cash (Ph.D. '89) co-founded reSTART: Internet Addiction Recovery Program, the first and only residential treatment program for adults suffering from Internet and Video Game Addiction (www.netaddictionrecovery.com). Dr. Cash began her pioneering work in this new field in the mid 90's, and by 1999 she co-founded an outpatient clinic called Internet/Computer Addiction Services in Redmond, WA (home of Microsoft). In 2008, Hilarie co-authored a book now being released in its second edition called Video Games and Your Kids: How Parents Stay in Control. These ongoing endeavors have brought Dr. Cash recognition as one of the nation's leading experts in the growing field of Internet Addiction. 

Dr. Cash began her counseling career in Hawaii, where she specialized in Women's Issues. When she moved to the Seattle area with her family, and started a new practice, she found more and more clients presenting with problems related to some aspect of the Internet. She was intrigued, but found that few therapists were paying attention to the things she was noticing. Her curiosity, concern, and clinical experience led her to develop a growing understanding of, and expertise in, this intriguing subject.
 
Today, there is a growing world wide recognition of problems associated with overuse of digital technology. S. Korea and China have named it their #1 public health threat. The US has been slow to recognize the problem as a legitimate mental health concern, and Internet Addiction Disorder is not likely to be listed in the new DSM-V. However, there has been progress with the addition of a new DSM category for non-substance addictions. With time and the accumulation of research, it is likely to be added to the roster of behavioral addictions that are finally being recognized, in the same way that gambling is today. 
 

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