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Apparently You Can Become Addicted to Google Glass

This story originally appeared on CNBC

Doctors in San Diego have documented what they describe as the first reported case of "Internet addiction disorder" involving the overuse of Glass. The patient was a 31-year-old enlisted service member who checked in to the U.S. Navy's Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) this summer for treatment of alcoholism. He was exhibiting withdrawal symptoms that doctors initially thought were solely related to alcohol. But it turned out he was having a hard time functioning also because of his withdrawal from Google Glass.

The man had been wearing Glass for up to 18 hours a day, using it fastidiously at work and taking it off when he went to sleep or bathed, said Dr. Andrew Doan, head of addictions and resilience research at Naval Medical Center San Diego and a co-author of a paper published in the journal Addictive Behaviors describing the case.

The man told his treatment providers that the withdrawal symptoms from Glass were "much worse" than withdrawing from alcohol, Doan told NBC News.

Moreover, "when the therapist would ask him a question, he would have this repeated movement of placing his index finger to the right side of face, similar to trying to turn on the Glass," Doan said. The man even began experiencing his dreams as if they were viewed through the eyeglass-like smart headset.

The patient successfully completed the 35-day residential treatment program and is experiencing fewer withdrawal symptoms, Doan said. He is now following up with outpatient treatment. Google did not immediately respond to a request from NBC News or comment on the case.

Though "Internet addiction" isn't included in the American Psychiatric Association's latest version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Doan insists it's a real malady. He expects to see more cases of behavioral disorders linked to technology as connected gadgets proliferate. One disorder to be on the lookout for, he said, is "nomophobia" — short for "no-mobile-phone" phobia — or the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

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