In the news today: A 31 year old Navy serviceman has been treated for Internet Addiction specifically related to his use of Google Glass, the always-on digital recording device some people have been wearing. Google Glass is a digital device similar to a pair of glasses, but with a small video screen and Internet connection.
While wearing Google Glass, the person is connected to to the Internet and can receive or transmit video and other information. The device is activated by tapping small buttons located on the side of the glasses. The Navy serviceman used Google Glass on the job, but chose to wear it almost all the time as well.
Doctors have published a paper describing what they believe to be an actual case of "addiction" specific to the use of Google Glass.
"...he was suffering from involuntary movements, cravings, memory problems and dreaming as if he was wearing the glasses. When he was not wearing them he felt irritable and argumentative." -- The Guardian
The news reports give a good overview, and these observations are consistent with addiction. The compulsive behavior, the reward delivery, the craving and anxiety. But it is important to note that the serviceman was primarily being treated for alcohol addiction at the time the device was "taken away" and the behaviors were observed.
Addiction the disease is not necessarily tied to the specific substance abused, or in this case, the device. As noted later in the media coverage, the patient had multiple co-occurring disorders:
"...the US navy patient was suffering from underlying mental problems, including depression, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder..." - The Guardian
While the media may be enamored with Google Glass and the idea that it may be possible to become addicted to Google Glass, in reality we are seeing an addict get treatment for both his addictions and his co-occurring disorders which may be encouraging his use of alcohol. If the sexiness of Google Glass helps raise awareness of the individual nature of addiction, and the importance of treating the co-occurring disorders, that's a good thing.