Can't Stop Web Surfing? Go to Rehab

"Cocaine and other illegal drugs are not at the library or a coffee shop," Camacho said. "Computers are everywhere."

Facility Predicts Growth of Internet Addicts

The Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery uses a therapy program similar to the well-known 12-step program to treat Internet addicts, which they've been doing since 1996.

Patients hail from all over the world, and therapists told that the strains of Internet-related addictions tend to be gender specific.

"The women who come here mostly have online shopping or chat-room addictions," Moore said. "The men we treat [suffer] from Internet gaming, gambling and pornography."

So far, the facility has helped hundreds of people; its youngest patient was just 13-years-old.

"In the future we expect this Internet impulse disorder to grow," said Moore, who estimates that 15 million to 30 million people could be diagnosed as Internet addicts in the future. "The Internet is accessible and acceptable."

As for Ben, he told that his life has been transformed since completing therapy at the institute.

"I have two part-time jobs, I work out and I re-enrolled in college," he said. "I even have a 3.8 GPA."

When asked what he does when he sees a computer, Ben admits that he sometimes battles a strong urge to log on.

"The hardest part of my day is walking through the computer lab [at school] to get to my English class," said Ben, who now pays his bills via snail mail and never goes on the computer at night -- an old habit he doesn't want to revisit.

"I remember what it did to me, where I was and where I am now," he said, "and I control myself."

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