The patient checked into the Navy's Substance Abuse and Recovery Program to get treatment for alcohol abuse. But while he was there, his doctors noticed something strange, the Guardian reports—the man "repeatedly tapped his right temple with his index finger." It was, he told the doctors, an involuntary movement, one he had been making dozens of times a day to use his Google Glass.
The man had been using the technology for around 18 hours a day – removing it only to sleep and wash – and complained of feeling irritable and argumentative without the device. In the two months since he bought the device, he had also begun experiencing his dreams as if viewed through the device’s small grey window.
"To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of IAD"—internet addiction disorder—"involving problematic use of Google Glass™," a group from the Naval Medical Center San Diego reported in the journal Addictive Behaviors.
Internet addiction was first discussed as clinical disorder in the late '90s, but psychologists are still debating and researching whether it is a unique disorder or a symptom of other problems. In America, the 2013 version of the DSM "included 'Internet Gaming Disorder' in an appendix, but called for more research," the New Yorker's Evan Osnos reported. But in other countries, including China, it's already considered and treated as disorder—although, as Osnos writes, the Chinese government may have political motivations for this decision.
Although it's certainly possible to spend 18 hours a day staring at a phone or computer screen, it's probably easier to become a constant user of Glass—if only because it's right there on your face. The patient who came the Navy's substance abuse program did improve, though: after 35 days in the treatment program, he was less irritable, had better short-memory and stopped touching his forehead quite so much. This might be the first reported case of Google Glass addiction, but most likely it will not be the last.