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As a result of these ongoing changes, behavioral addictions have now recently received official recognition in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition).In this theoretical framework, technological addictions such as IA represent a subset of behavioral addictions featuring six core components: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse.
However, as noted above, it has also been argued that the Internet may simply be the means or “place” where the most commonly reported addictive behaviors occur.
In short, the Internet may be just a medium to fuel other addictions.
For the purpose of the present review, the term Internet addiction is used for the sake of parsimony and consistency.
Given the extant debates in the field as to whether IA can stand on its own as a diagnosis (ie, as a primary disorder) or whether it is a consequence of other existing underlying mental disorders (eg, depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, other impulse control disorders, making it a secondary disorder), the purpose of this review is to highlight the issue of IA in terms of: definition and characterization; incidence and prevalence rates from robust studies (ie, those with nationally representative samples); its associated neuronal processes; and implications for treatment and prevention, along with patient-specific relevant considerations.
Based on the evidence analyzed, it is concluded that IA may pose a serious health hazard to a minority of people.
Keywords: Internet addiction, review, behavioral addictions, prevalence, neuronal processes, treatment Introduction Given the ubiquity of the Internet, its evolving nature as a modern tool of society, and issues surrounding its excessive use and abuse by a minority of people, Internet addiction (IA) has become an increasingly important topic for dedicated research agendas from several scientific fields including psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience.
The topic has generated a great deal of debate, particularly in relation to how IA can be defined conceptually as well as the many methodological limitations.
The present review aims to further elaborate and clarify issues that are relevant to IA research in a number of areas including: definition and characterization, incidence and prevalence rates, associated neuronal processes, and implications for treatment, prevention, and patient-specific considerations.
it is unclear to what extent such criteria are useful and suitable to evaluate IA.
Notwithstanding the existing difficulties in understanding and comparing IA and pathological gambling, recent research provided useful insights on this topic.