Time to Include Internet Addiction in the Official Classification of Psychiatry

Suprakash Chaudhury*, Swaleha Mujawar, Daniel Saldanha

Deparment of Psychiatry, Dr DY Patil Medical College, Hospital & Research Centre, India
Received Date: February 20, 2021; Published Date: April 04, 2021;

*Corresponding author: Suprakash Chaudhury, Deparment of Psychiatry, Dr DY Patil Medical College, Hospital & Research Centre, India.

How to cite this article: Suprakash Chaudhury., et al., (2021) “Time to Include Internet Addiction in the Official Classification of Psychiatry.” Sis Med Psy Neuro J 1(1): 06-10.

An addictive behaviour is characterized by six core components of: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse. Any behaviour that fulfils these six criteria is considered as an addiction [1]. Internet Addiction (IA disorder, Internet dependence, pathological Internet use, problematic Internet use, compulsive Internet use) is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon which affects not only an individual’s social but also psychological life. All the features of addictions, like salience, compulsive use (loss of control), the alleviation of distress, tolerance and withdrawal, mood modification, and the continuation despite negative consequences are observed in IA [2]. Based on Davis’ cognitive-behavioral model of IA, Caplan suggested that individuals with psychiatric problems may favour online interaction over face-to-face communication as it is easier to offset their social skill deficiencies [3,4]. Some people use the net to cope with loneliness anxiety, depression, [5] or to escape mental problems [6]. Subsequently this may lead to dependence [7]. A study of 209 university students in Turkey revealed that male students who spend longer on the web and use Internet for communication are more likely to obtain higher IA scores. IA is related to depression, [8] loneliness and shyness, [9] lower resilience and self-efficacy [2] lower self-esteem and lower satisfaction with life [10].

Regarding IA, Griffiths argued that it is not well established if people become hooked to the platform or to the contents of the web [11]. Users dependent on the web cannot quit several aspects of online use. He proposed three subtypes of internet addicts, on the basis of the “object” of the dependence: on-line games, sex, and e-mail or text messages [12-13]. In addition to IA few other digital media addictions have been proposed. Social Network Site (SNS) Addiction Disorder is defined on the basis of the six addiction criteria: neglect of personal life; mental preoccupation; escapism (an entertainment that permits people to temporarily overlook the actual problems of life); mood altering experiences; tolerance and hiding the addictive behaviour [14]. Similarly, face book (FB) addiction disorder is characterized by the following features: salience (i.e., permanent thinking about FB), tolerance (i.e., heightened amounts of FB activity are required to attain previous positive effect), mood modification (i.e., mood improvement by FB use), relapse (i.e., reverting to higher amounts of FB activity after unsuccessful attempts of FB use reduction), withdrawal symptoms (i.e., becoming nervous without FB use), and conflict (i.e., interpersonal problems caused by intensive FB use) [15]. B addiction is positively associated with poor sleep quality, depression and anxiety symptom [15] and negatively linked to life satisfaction and resilience [16]. Identification of vulnerability factors for the development of IA is of interest to clinicians and researchers. The Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution (I-PACE) model proposes the interaction of personal (P), affective (A), cognitive (C), and executive (E) variables in the emergence of IA. One of the P factors implicated in the model is personality which may create a vulnerability or resilience to the development of IA [17]. IA was positively associated with neuroticism and negatively with conscientiousness [18]. Despite the lack of recognition by DSM5 and ICD11 clinicians continue to grapple with this disorder. Surely it is time to officially recognize this disorder.


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