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Here's how 'tech addicts' seek solace in rehab

Updated : 2018-12-27 14:22:47

Suburban Seattle, a major tech center, has become a hub for help for so-called "tech addicts," with residential rehab, psychologists who specialize in such treatment and 12-step meetings."The drugs of old are now repackaged. We have a new foe," Cosette Rae says of the barrage of tech. A former developer in the tech world, she heads a Seattle area rehab center called reSTART Life, one of the few residential programs in the nation specializing in tech addiction. Use of that word — addiction — when it comes to devices, online content and the like is still debated in the mental health world. But many practitioners agree that tech use is increasingly intertwined with the problems of those seeking help.

On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Psychologist Hilarie Cash walks on a forest path at a rehab center for adolescents in a rural area outside Redmond, Wash. The complex is part of reSTART Life, a residential program for adolescents and adults who have serious issues with excessive tech use, including video games. Disconnecting from tech and getting outside is part of the rehabilitation process. The organization, which began about a decade ago, also is adding outpatient services due to high demand. Cash is chief clinical officer and a co-founder at reSTART. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Psychologist Hilarie Cash walks on a forest path at a rehab center for adolescents in a rural area outside Redmond, Wash. The complex is part of reSTART Life, a residential program for adolescents and adults who have serious issues with excessive tech use, including video games. Disconnecting from tech and getting outside is part of the rehabilitation process. The organization, which began about a decade ago, also is adding outpatient services due to high demand. Cash is chief clinical officer and a co-founder at reSTART. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Jason, a 24-year-old tech addict from New York state, works on a laptop in Bellevue, Wash., at the headquarters of reSTART Life, a residential program for adolescents and adults who have serious issues with excessive tech use, including video games. Jason came to reSTART several months ago because excessive use of video games had become a problem.
On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Jason, a 24-year-old tech addict from New York state, works on a laptop in Bellevue, Wash., at the headquarters of reSTART Life, a residential program for adolescents and adults who have serious issues with excessive tech use, including video games. Jason came to reSTART several months ago because excessive use of video games had become a problem. "I knew I'd have to change or I'd end up killing myself," said Jason, who is now living independently, has a job and is able to use some technology. He plans to start his first pre-med class, biology, in January. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Dec. 8, 2018 photo, young men gather to talk after a 12-step meeting for Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous in Bellevue, Wash. The meeting is run much like other 12-step meetings for addicts, but the focus is video games, devices and internet content that has become a life-harming distraction. The Seattle area has become a hub for treatment of extreme tech use. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Dec. 8, 2018 photo, young men gather to talk after a 12-step meeting for Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous in Bellevue, Wash. The meeting is run much like other 12-step meetings for addicts, but the focus is video games, devices and internet content that has become a life-harming distraction. The Seattle area has become a hub for treatment of extreme tech use. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On  Dec. 8, 2018, photo, young men gather to talk after a 12-step meeting for Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous in Bellevue, Wash.  (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On  Dec. 8, 2018, photo, young men gather to talk after a 12-step meeting for Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous in Bellevue, Wash.  (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Robel, an 18-year-old tech addict from California, left, helps Hilarie Cash load hay to feed the horses at the Rise Up Ranch outside rural Carnation, Wash. The ranch is a starting point for clients like Robel who come to reSTART Life, a residential program for adolescents and adults who have serious issues with excessive tech use, including video games. The organization, which began about a decade ago, also is adding outpatient services due to high demand. Cash is a psychologist, chief clinical officer and a co-founder at reSTART. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Robel, an 18-year-old tech addict from California, left, helps Hilarie Cash load hay to feed the horses at the Rise Up Ranch outside rural Carnation, Wash. The ranch is a starting point for clients like Robel who come to reSTART Life, a residential program for adolescents and adults who have serious issues with excessive tech use, including video games. The organization, which began about a decade ago, also is adding outpatient services due to high demand. Cash is a psychologist, chief clinical officer and a co-founder at reSTART. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Robel, an 18-year-old tech addict from California, leaves a barn after helping feed animals at the Rise Up Ranch outside rural Carnation, Wash. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Monday, Dec. 10, 2018, photo, Robel, an 18-year-old tech addict from California, leaves a barn after helping feed animals at the Rise Up Ranch outside rural Carnation, Wash. (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
On Dec. 9, 2018 photo, a 27-year-old self-described tech addict poses for a portrait in front of a video game store at a mall in Everett, Wash. He asked to remain anonymous because he works in the tech industry and fears that speaking out about the negatives of excessive tech use could hurt his career.
On Dec. 9, 2018 photo, a 27-year-old self-described tech addict poses for a portrait in front of a video game store at a mall in Everett, Wash. He asked to remain anonymous because he works in the tech industry and fears that speaking out about the negatives of excessive tech use could hurt his career. "If we get to a point in the tech industry where I can use my name and show my face in cases like this, thence've gotten somewhere. That'll be a turning point." (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)
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