The Incidence Of Excessive Internet Use

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In the past decade, research has demonstrated that the incidence of excessive Internet use has increased (Block, 2008). Recent prevalence for excessive or problematic Internet use is between 8.1-17.1% (Mythily, Qui & Winslow, 2008: Cao et al., 2011). While some Internet users experience no disruption to their psychosocial functioning, a subset of individual’s experience heightened psychosocial problems and psychopathological symptoms characteristic of substance dependence (Muller et al, 2014). A growing body of evidence suggest that aspects of excessive Internet use are grounds for classifying this as an addiction (Hellman, Schoenmakers, Nordstrom & Van Holst, 2012). Internet addiction (IA) is understood as an individual’s inability to control their use of the Internet, which causes psychological, social and work dysfunction within their life (Young & Rogers, 1998; Davis, 2001). Although Internet gaming disorder is identified by the DSM-5 as condition warranting more research, general IA is yet to be included (DSM5, 2013). The aim of this review is to demonstrate that excessive Internet use, when problematic, mimics manifestations of substance dependence (Yan & Tung, 2007) and other behavioural addictions (Sun et al., 2009). This relationship suggests that Internet addiction (IA) may be considered like other addictions. Firstly, it will be shown that IA results in serious negative consequences similar to other addictions. Secondly, evidence from a neuropsychological
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