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Research and Advances in Psychiatry

Internet Addiction: a qualitative overview

Review, 32 - 37
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Abstract
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Introduction: although for the vast majority the Internet is a useful and positive aid, for a minority its excessive use can progress to various forms of behavioural addiction. In 2013 DSM 5 considered the diagnosis of Internet Gaming Disorder in the supplementary section highlighting how more research and discussion would be required for this to be accepted as a diagnostic entity in future.
In this paper we provide a brief overview of some of the epidemiological, diagnostic, neurobiological, comorbid (psychiatric) and treatment aspects of Internet Addiction.
Methods: the articles chosen were searched periodically through PubMed from 2012-2015.
Results: Internet Gaming Disorder is one way in which the use of the Internet is evident in behavioural addictions. Other social behaviours such as social networking, gambling, shopping, pornography, exploitation, bullying and dating are mediated through the Internet via a range of devices including computers, mobile phones and games counsels. Consequently the scientific exploration of Internet Addiction will need to evolve to explore its component social behaviours.
Discussion: at what point would a scientific or clinical judgement be made that an individual has a behavioural addiction mediated through Internet?
Some papers are reviewed here which have Internet Addiction in their title, which draw our attention to the issue of how our use of technology could be problematic. However further scientific study of the different behavioural phenotypes related to Internet use will give greater insight into the neurobiology of these types of addiction, its relatedness to other psychiatric conditions and its importance in the adverse socio-economic cost in relation to the many positive life changing and tangible benefits the Internet has brought to modern society.

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