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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Internet Addiction in DSM V?

Medicalize problems again. In an editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry Internet Addiction is proposed as a new diagnosis in DSM V. Now the American Journal of Psychiatry used to be a serious peer reviewed journal although some of us doubt this feature for a while now.

As arguments reports are used instead of studies published in peer reviewed journal. These reports come from South Korea:

Using data from 2006, the South Korean government estimates that approximately 210,000 South Korean children (2.1%; ages 6–19) are afflicted and require treatment. About 80% of those needing treatment may need psychotropic medications, and perhaps 20% to 24% require hospitalization

Now this looks like an epidemic to me, not a psychiatric diagnosis.

Also China is mentioned as suffering from this problem
At a recent conference, Tao Ran, Ph.D., Director of Addiction Medicine at Beijing Military Region Central Hospital, reported 13.7% of Chinese adolescent Internet users meet Internet addiction diagnostic criteria—about 10 million teenagers.

Now we all know why China wants to restrict Internet access and Internet cafes.
An explanation for Internet addiction could be a creative manner of censorship by the Chinese government. Internet is a relatively new phenomena in China, a side effect of its booming economy and technological advances, but how to control this development and how to fit it in with its communist government? Indeed Internet addiction.

And you can read about the treatment options for Internet addiction in a previous post on this blog: Electroshock treatment for Internet addiction
By the way this treatment was implemented by the same Mr Ran Director of Addiction Medicine at Beijing Military Region Central Hospital.

I hope the committee for the DSM V will be more critical about their task and evidence for this diagnosis. This proposal has nothing to do with pharmaceutical industries I hope.

What do you think should there be a diagnosis of Internet Addiction in the next DSM V?


Anonymous said...

Here's the treatment for a major subtype of internet addiction:

This treatment generalizes well to other subtypes.

Anonymous said...

Here's what the anosognosics have
to say about it.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely do think that internet addiction should be a diagnosis in the DSM-V. I would never have believed it was possible, until I saw it with my own eyes in my own house. My son became addicted to the World of Warcraft. He exhibited not just 3 of the criteria for substance dependence listed in the DSM-IV, but all 7 of them, if you substitute the word "game" for the word "substance". He had tolerance, withdrawal (which most closely resembled cocaine or amphetamine withdrawal), repeated efforts to cut down or control use, went to great lengths to access the game in spite of negative social (lost all his friends), health (lost 10 lbs he could ill afford to lose), and educational (flunked out of college) consequences, gave up ALL social and recreational activities, and continued to play while his world basically crubled around him. This is REAL, affects about 10% of gamers, and is the most frightening thing I have seen to date. I am a family physician. I know addiction when I see it. For further information, go to

Anonymous said...

Medgadgets' editors also read this article.

Dr. Shock said...

I am afraid this is not the last article written about this controversial subject. What is your opinion?
Regards Dr Shock