Diagnosing pathological Internet use


Report from the 163rd annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, New Orleans LA, May 22-26, 2010 – The diagnostic validity of pathological Internet use has been the subject of recent debate but it remains unclear if the phenomenon is a behavioural problem, part of the spectrum of impulsive, compulsive or addictive disorders, or a separate clinical entity (see Beard & Wolf. Cyber Psychol Behav 2001; 4:377-383; Griffiths. Addict Res 2008; 8: 413-418; Young. J Contemp Psychother 2009; 39: 241-246) (For a recent comment from Canadian researchers see El-Guebaly & Mudry. World Psychiatry 2010; 9: 93-94; free full text at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2911084/?tool=pubmed). Clinical data are lacking, but a Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire is currently in development (Thatcher & Goolam. S Afr J Psychol 2005; 35: 793-809).

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