Abstract and Keywords
This chapter discusses the phenomenology and epidemiology of problematic Internet se (PIU). Interest in the addictive potential of Internet activities has grown in the past two decades. Problematic Internet use can be broadly defined as uncontrolled use of the Internet that leads to significant psychosocial and functional impairments. It is currently conceptualized as an impulse control disorder that may share features with substance dependence disorders. Reliable studies have estimated the prevalence in the general population to be about 1%, but higher proportions of individuals might be at risk. Comorbidities with other psychiatric disorders are common. Concerns exist regarding the appropriateness and implications of formally recognizing PIU as a distinct disorder in current diagnostic systems. Given the ever-growing exposure to the Internet, especially in younger generations, PIU might become an emerging public health problem. Further studies are greatly needed, especially those using valid measures and longitudinal designs. Neuroimaging and genetic studies should also be explored.
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