A Growing Epidemic
Research on Internet addiction originated 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.
Internet Gaming Addiction is now listed in Section 3 of the DSM-5. Young’s inpatient recovery center treats gaming addiction and all other forms of Internet addiction. The Internet Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center at the Bradford Regional Medical Center in Bradford, Pa provides recovery under the supervision of a multidisciplinary clinical team.
The program provides individual, group, and family counseling with adults 18 years and over. The program uses evidence-based therapy that includes medically supervised detox and intensive daily sessions with a psychiatrist and licensed psychologist, discharge planning, and aftercare. The program focuses on daily reintegration of electronic devices and media. Family support and involvement in the program is strongly encouraged.
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