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Internet addiction a new mental health issue

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Internet addiction: a descriptive clinical study focusing on comorbidities and dissociative symptoms.

AuthorsBernardi S, et al. Show all Journal

Compr Psychiatry. 2009 Nov-Dec;50(6):510-6. Epub 2009 Jan 20.


Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Manhattan, NY, USA. silvia.bernardi@gmail.com


AIMS: Internet addiction (IAD) is an emerging cause of morbidity and has been recently considered to merit inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Given the paucity of knowledge about IAD, we conducted a descriptive clinical analysis of patients focusing on clinical, demographic features, and comorbidities. The detachment has been suggested as a reason for the attractiveness of the Internet; thus, we assessed dissociative symptoms and their association with IAD disability.

DESIGN AND SETTING: A cohort of 50 adult outpatients were screened using the Internet Addiction Scale. Exclusion criterion was using the Internet for only one purpose such as gaming or gambling.

PARTICIPANT: Nine women and 6 men constituted the sample of Internet addicts; each of them had a score of 70 or higher on the Internet Addiction Scale.

MEASUREMENT: Comorbidities and subthreshold symptoms were screened carefully. Dissociative symptoms were analyzed with the Dissociative Experience Scale, and disability was assessed using the Sheehan Disability Scale.

FINDINGS: Hours/week spent on the Internet were 42.21 +/- 3.09. Clinical diagnoses included 14% attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, 7% hypomania, 15% generalized anxiety disorder, 15% social anxiety disorder; 7% dysthymia, 7% obsessive compulsive personality disorder, 14% borderline personality disorder, and 7% avoidant personality disorder. One patient met criteria for binge eating disorder. Severity measures of IAD were associated with higher perception of family disability (r = 0.814; P

CONCLUSION: From a phenomenological point of view, IAD in our sample population seems to be more compulsory than rewarding or mood driven. Dissociative symptoms are related to severity and impact of IAD.

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Ok....just in case someone may have an internet addiction:whistling:

Tips for dealing with Internet addiction:

Ask yourself, “What am I missing out on when I spend so much time on the Internet?” Write down these activities and decrease your Internet time to pursue some of them.

Set reasonable Internet use goals and stick to them. Take frequent breaks, at least 5 minutes each hour, and do some other activity.

Alter your routine to break your usage patterns. If you spend evenings on the Internet, start limiting your use to mornings.

Seek out friends and acquaintances who “couldn’t care less” about the Internet. Take time to appreciate the fact that all life is not yet online.

Stay connected to the offline world. Visit newsstands, book and music stores, and participate in entertainment such as museums, music, and live theater. Novels and poetry readings are hard to experience online.

Treat the Internet as a tool. Stay focused on the fact that the Internet is a means to an end. Plan your strategy—whether you’re looking for information or entertainment—with the end in mind and you’ll save valuable time.

Source: University of California, San Francisco

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