A Growing Epidemic
Internet addiction was first identified in the U.S. by Dr. Kimberly Young. In 1996, she presented the first paper on the topic at the American Psychological Association’s annual conference held in Toronto entitled, “Internet Addiction: The Emergence of a New Disorder”. Since then, studies have documented Internet Addiction in Australia, Italy, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, and the Czech Republic. It is a serious epidemic in China, Korea, and Taiwan.
In 2014, the first Internet Congress on Internet Addiction Disorders was held in Milan. Korea is the leader in this field as it has established the first comprehensive, national prevention and re-education program for Screen Addictions. China and Japan utilize inpatient care with internet addiction fasting camps. Australia developed the first inpatient adolescent treatment program for internet addiction. Italy has inpatient centers in Milan and Rome. France uses early education as a prevention for technology addictions. In the U.S., Internet Gaming Addiction is now listed in Section 3 of the DSM-5 and in 2013, Dr. Young founded the first inpatient Internet Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center at the Bradford Regional Medical Center in Bradford, Pa under the supervision of a multidisciplinary clinical team for adults 18 years and over. Dr. Young also provides private counseling, family therapy, and parent training using evidence-based approaches to help you or a loved one deal with internet addiction and teaches families how to find a healthy digital diet for living a balanced life.
Signs of Internet Addiction
Dr. Young developed the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ). Meeting five symptoms are necessary to be diagnosed.
- Do you feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate next online session)?
- Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
- Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
- Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
- Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
- Have you jeopardized or risked the loss of significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
- Have you lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
- Do you use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?
Other Symptoms Include:
- Failed attempts to control behavior
- Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in computer and Internet activities
- Neglecting friends and family
- Neglecting sleep to stay online
- Being dishonest with others
- Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior
- Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
- Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities
Read Kimberly Young’s newest book, The Eighth Wonder
Look at her personal web site and blog at KimberlyYoung.net