The 2010 Suggested Diagnostic Criteria for Internet Addiction
Published in the journal Addiction in Feb 2010; here are the proposed diagnostic criteria for Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).
Based on the recommended criteria, to meet a diagnosis of IAD a person must display both of the following symptoms:
1. A preoccupation with the internet (thinking a lot about time spent in the past online or anticipating and planning a coming online session)
2. Withdrawal symptoms – after a few days without access to the internet IAD sufferers will experience symptoms such as dysphoria, boredom, anxiety and irritability.
And at least one of the following symptoms:
- Tolerance – needing to spend increasing amounts of time online achieve the same level of satisfaction that was previously achieved after briefer sessions
- Wanting to reduce time spent online – Either a persistent desire to reduce time spent online or previous attempts and failures in limiting time spent online
- Continuing to use the internet despite knowing the harms it does you – you continue to excessively use the internet even though you know that your use of the internet causes you physical or psychiatric harms (Or worsens existing problems)
- Losing interest in things that were previously enjoyed – you no longer participate at the same level in hobbies or activities that you used to enjoy or find meaningful because of your excessive use of the internet
- Using the internet to feel better – to relieve negative emotions, such as dysphoria, anxiety, guilt and others
- Your behaviors cannot be better explained by another mental health disorder
- Your internet usage must cause you significant life impairment, such as the loss of a job or important relationship or reduced capacity to perform at work or school
- Your excessive internet usage must be ongoing for longer than 3 continuous months and you must spend more than 6 hours online per day (not including time spent online at work or for school)1
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