Internet Addiction

Hans-Georg's picture
Mon, 2008-06-23 16:35 by Hans-Georg

The American Journal of Psychiatry

Am J Psychiatry 165:306-307, March 2008
doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07101556
© 2008 American Psychiatric Association


Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction
Jerald J. Block, M.D.

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Internet addiction appears to be a common disorder that merits inclusion in DSM-V. Conceptually, the diagnosis is a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder that involves online and/or offline computer usage (1, 2) and consists of at least three subtypes: excessive gaming, sexual preoccupations, and e-mail/text messaging (3). All of the variants share the following four components: 1) excessive use, often associated with a loss of sense of time or a neglect of basic drives, 2) withdrawal, including feelings of anger, tension, and/or depression when the computer is inaccessible, 3) tolerance, including the need for better computer equipment, more software, or more hours of use, and 4) negative repercussions, including arguments, lying, poor achievement, social isolation, and fatigue (3, 4).

Some of the most interesting research on Internet addiction has been published in South Korea. After a series of 10 cardiopulmonary-related deaths in Internet cafés (5) and a game-related murder (6), South Korea considers Internet addiction one of its most serious public health issues (7). Using data from 2006, the South Korean government estimates that approximately 210,000 South Korean children (2.1%; ages 6–19) are afflicted and require treatment (5). About 80% of those needing treatment may need psychotropic medications, and perhaps 20% to 24% require hospitalization (7).

Since the average South Korean high school student spends about 23 hours each week gaming (8), another 1.2 million are believed to …

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