Internet addiction with coexisting psychiatric diagnosis (2018)

Ind Psychiatry J. 2017 Jul-Dec; 26(2): 243–244.

doi:  10.4103/ipj.ipj_79_14

PMCID: PMC6058444

PMID: 30089977

Manoj Kumar Sharma, G. Ragesh,1 Thamil Selvan Palanichamy, Ameer Hamza,1 Prabha S. Chandra,2 and Santosh K. Chaturvedi2

Internet addiction has been seen among users with psychiatric disorders.[1,2] We present information about cases diagnosed with internet addiction coexisting with other psychiatric diagnosis in the age group of 16–20 years, admitted to a tertiary level psychiatric hospital, Bengaluru, India. The main purpose of the consultation was to seek help for the psychiatric problems. Internet addiction was diagnosed during psychiatric work up using screening questions based on craving, control, compulsion, and consequences and Young’s criteria for internet addiction (salience, excessive use, neglecting work, anticipation, lack of control, and neglecting social activities). They were in the age group of 16–20 years (2 male teenagers with the presence of express emotion among family related to psychiatric problems/internet use and psychosocial dysfunctions [not taking interest in academic, household work, avoiding family gathering, and preferred to be online or with mobile in company of friend or relatives]). First case had the residual attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with conduct problems and specific leaning disability; had an average 11 h of use of social networking sites for the past 3–4 years. He had not been on any medication. Second case had the adjustment disorder with conduct disorder with internet addiction with? Evolving schizoid personality disorder. He had on been on antipsychotic medication. He had 2 years of internet use on an average of 12 h/day in the form of E-mail, video chatting with a girlfriend, use of Facebook and watching pornography and indulging in masturbation. Both of them initiated during having psychopathology. Both the cases were in the precontemplation stage of motivation for seeking information/intervention for the internet use and presence of family conflict in relation to their internet use. They attributed the excessive use to feeling good while using internet, boredom, and absence of pleasurable activities in their daily routine. Temperamentally, they were slow to warm. All of them accessed it on the computer (home/cyber) or smartphone.

The cases presented the initiation of problematic use of internet (8 to 20 h per day) started during psychiatric illness in the form of Facebook, playing games, checking mail, information seeking, and pornography. Higher ADHD symptoms, depression, and hostility are associated with internet addiction in male adolescents, and only higher ADHD symptoms and depression are associated with internet addiction in female students.[3] Heavy internet users found to have loneliness, depressed mood, compulsivity, and other psychological impairments.[4] About 11.8% of students had internet addiction and anxiety/stress. It had association with was the time spent online, usage of social networking sites and chat rooms.[5] 24.6% reported problematic use of the internet.[6] There is a need to sensitize the mental health professionals for screening excessive use of technology devices, developing evidence of exploring its addictive properties as well as develop psychosocial intervention for users and caregivers.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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