Published online Mar Received Oct 27; Accepted Feb Copyright Bocquillon et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited.
September 6, First decision: October 27, Revised: November 19, Article in press: January 7, Published online: March 22, Abstract AIM: To provide a comprehensive overview of clinical studies on the clinical picture of Internet-use related addictions from a holistic perspective.
A literature search was conducted using the database Web of Science. Internet addiction has not yet been understood very well, and research on its etiology and natural history is still in its infancy. Inthe American Psychiatric Association included Internet Gaming Disorder in the appendix of the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders DSM-5 as condition that requires further research prior to official inclusion in the main manual, with important repercussions for research and treatment.
To date, reviews have focused on clinical and treatment studies of Internet addiction and Internet Gaming Disorder. This arguably limits the analysis to a specific diagnosis of a potential disorder that has not yet been officially recognised in the Western world, rather than a comprehensive and inclusive investigation of Internet-use related addictions including problematic Internet use more generally.
The systematic literature review identified a total of 46 relevant studies. The included studies used clinical samples, and focused on characteristics of treatment seekers and online addiction treatment.
Four main types of clinical research studies were identified, namely research involving 1 treatment seeker characteristics; 2 psychopharmacotherapy; 3 psychological therapy; and 4 combined treatment.
A consensus regarding diagnostic criteria and measures is needed to improve reliability across studies and to develop effective and efficient treatment approaches for treatment seekers.
Internet addiction has appeared as new mental health concern. To date, reviews have focused on clinical and treatment studies of Internet addiction and Internet Gaming Disorder, limiting the analysis to a specific diagnosis of a potential disorder that has not yet been officially recognised, rather than a comprehensive investigation of Internet-use related addictions including problematic Internet use more generally.
This systematic literature review outlines and discusses the current empirical literature base for clinical studies of Internet addiction and problematic Internet use.
A total of 46 relevant studies on treatment seeker characteristics, psychopharmacotherapy, psychological therapy, and combined treatment were identified.
Internet addiction and problematic Internet use: A systematic review of clinical research. Internet addiction has not yet been understood very well, and research on its etiology and natural history is still in its infancy[ 2 ].
Currently, it is estimated that between 0.
The reported higher prevalence rates in China suggest Internet addiction is a serious problem in China, and the country has acknowledged Internet addiction as official disorder in [ 5 ]. A comprehensive systematic review of epidemiological research of Internet addiction for the last decade[ 6 ] indicated Internet addiction is associated with various risk factors, including sociodemographic variables including male gender, younger age, and higher family incomeInternet use variables including time spent online, using social and gaming applicationspsychosocial factors including impulsivity, neuroticism, and lonelinessand comorbid symptoms including depression, anxiety, and psychopathology in generalsuggesting these factors contribute to an increased vulnerability for developing Internet-use related problems.
Despite the gradually increasing number of studies concerning Internet addiction, classification is a contentious issue as a total of 21 different assessment instruments have been developed to date, and these are currently used to identify Internet addiction in both clinical and normative populations[ 6 ].
Conceptualisations vary substantially and include criteria derived from pathological gambling, substance-related addictions and the number of problems experienced. In addition to this, the cut-off points utilised for classification differ significantly, which impedes research and cultural cross-comparisons and limits research reliability.
Increasing research efforts on Internet addiction have led the American Psychiatric Association APA to include Internet Gaming Disorder in the appendix of the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders DSM-5 in as condition that requires further research before it can be accepted for inclusion in the main manual[ 7 ].
This has resulted in researchers commencing efforts to reach an international consensus for assessing Internet Gaming Disorder using the new DSM-5 approach based on an international expert panel[ 8 ].
For the purpose of a comprehensive and inclusive understanding of the potential disorder, in this systematic literature review, Internet addiction will be referred to as encompassing Internet-use related addictions and problematic Internet use, including Internet Gaming Disorder.
For example, other potential online addictions and Internet-use related disorders have been recently reviewed[ 10 ], suggesting that limiting a diagnosis to online gaming exclusively misses out many cases of individuals who experience negative consequences and significant impairment due to their Internet use-related behaviours.
For some individuals, their online behaviours are problematic and they require professional help as they cannot cope with their experiences by themselves, suggesting treatment is necessary. Based on in-depth interviews with 20 Internet addiction treatment experts from Europe and North America, Kuss and Griffiths[ 11 ] found that in inpatient and outpatient clinical settings, Internet addiction and Internet-use related problems are associated with significant impairment and distress for individuals, which have been emphasised as the criteria demarcating mental disorders[ 12 ].
This suggests that in the clinical context, Internet addiction can be viewed as mental disorder requiring professional treatment if the individual presents with significant levels of impairment.
Psychotherapists treating the condition indicate the symptoms experienced by the individuals presenting for treatment appear similar to traditional substance-related addictions, including salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict and relapse[ 11 ].
This view is reflected by patients who seek treatment for their excessive gaming[ 13 ].
Inthe South Korean government-funded National Information Society Agency has opened the first Internet addiction prevention counselling centre worldwide, and has since developed large-scale projects including prevention, training, counselling, treatment, and policy formulation to tackle the pervasive problem of technology overuse[ 14 ].Open Document.
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