Internet Use Disorder (IUD), may soon be included in the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V), although the authors say it needs additional study. So what are the symptoms of IUD, and maybe more importantly for those of us flirting with it, what’s the treatment?
Internet Use Disorder has the many of the basic hallmarks of any other addiction. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the crafters of the DSM-V, a person with IUD will experience “preoccupation” with the internet or internet gaming, withdrawal symptoms when the substance (internet) is no longer available, tolerance (the need to spend more and more time on the internet to achieve the same “high”), loss of other interests, unsuccessful attempts to quit, and use of the internet to improve or escape dysphoric mood.
There’s been more and more scientific research devoted to understanding what IUD is, how it works neurologically, and how we can treat it. Research has shown that people with internet addiction have demonstrable changes in their brains – both in the connections between cells and in the brain areas that control attention, executive control, and emotion processing. Most intriguing is the fact that many of these changes are what you see happening in the brains of people addicted to cocaine, heroin and other substances.
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