Internet addiction disorder (IAD), also called problematic or pathological Internet use, is characterized by an individual’s inability to control his or her use of the Internet, which may eventually result in marked distress and functional impairments of general life such as academic performance, social interaction, occupational interest and behavioral problems. The description regarding IAD is based on the definition for substance dependence or pathological gambling, which shares properties of substance dependence like preoccupation, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, distress and functional impairments. With the soaring number of Internet users, the problem of IAD has currently attracted considerable attention from psychiatrists, educators and the public; therefore IAD is becoming a serious mental health issue around the world.
Current studies about IAD have focused on case summaries, behavioral components, negative consequences in daily life, along with clinical diagnosis, epidemiology, associated psychosocial factors, symptom management, psychiatric comorbidity and treatment outcome. These studies are mainly based on psychological self-reported questionnaires and consistently reported that heavy internet overuse may exert potential effects on individuals’ psychological problems and cognitive impairments. Here to read more.