Tanay Maiti (Christian Medical College, India)
Internet addiction has gradually turned a medium of gaming and other leisure activities shifting from its original intention to fasten the communication and help in the researches. The excessive usage of internet and nature of its usage has been found to be similar with psycho-addictive substance addiction with similar neurobiological basis. Inclusion of gambling disorder into DSM 5 further strengthens the emerging concept of behavioral addiction. Various worldwide researches also support the upsurge of such problem. The clinical presentation and management options are mostly based on the behavioral principles learned from the substance abuse problems. However, large-scale randomized trails and epidemiological studies are definitely needed to understand this twenty-first century problem.
Bio-Psycho-Social Model Of Addiction
Since George Engel proposed his revolutionary biopsychosocial model of illnesses, the psychological factors and social stressors has remained a matter of discussion and search for other modifiable factors have been proved effective. The role of psychological and social factors has been found to have immense role in addiction and substance abuse specially because of their role in management and chance to modify certain ‘set behavior/patterns’.
There are many individual (personal vulnerability) factors that may be involved in the acquisition, development and maintenance of behavioral addictions (e.g. personality traits, biological and genetic predispositions, unconscious motivations, learning and conditioning effects, thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes), although some factors are more personal (e.g. financial motivation and economic pressures in the case of gambling addiction).
Addiction is an incredibly complex behavior and always results from an interaction and interplay between many factors including the person’s biological and/or genetic predisposition, their psychological constitution (personality factors, unconscious motivations, attitudes, expectations, beliefs, etc.), their social environment (situational characteristics such as accessibility and availability of the activity, the advertising of the activity) and the nature of the activity itself (i.e. structural characteristics such as the size of the stake or jackpot in gambling). This ‘global’ view of addiction highlights the interconnected processes and integration between individual differences (i.e. personal vulnerability), situational factors, structural characteristics, and the resulting addictive pattern of behavior. There are many individual (personal vulnerability and traits) factors that may work as predisposing factors, whereas the development and maintenance of behavioral addictions might occur over factors like; unconscious motivations, learning and conditioning effects, personal thoughts, cultural beliefs and attitudes, although some factors are more personal or situational(e.g. financial motivation and economic pressures in the case of gambling addiction).
Psychosocial factors such as low self-esteem, loneliness, depression, high anxiety, and stress all appear to be common among those with behavioral addictions (Griffiths, 2015).