Internet Addiction in DSM V?


Medicalize problems again. In an editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry Internet Addiction is proposed as a new diagnosis in DSM V. Now the American Journal of Psychiatry used to be a serious peer reviewed journal although some of us doubt this feature for a while now.

As arguments reports are used instead of studies published in peer reviewed journal. These reports come from South Korea:

Using data from 2006, the South Korean government estimates that approximately 210,000 South Korean children (2.1%; ages 6–19) are afflicted and require treatment. About 80% of those needing treatment may need psychotropic medications, and perhaps 20% to 24% require hospitalization

Now this looks like an epidemic to me, not a psychiatric diagnosis.

Also China is mentioned as suffering from this problem

At a recent conference, Tao Ran, Ph.D., Director of Addiction Medicine at Beijing Military Region Central Hospital, reported 13.7% of Chinese adolescent Internet users meet Internet addiction diagnostic criteria—about 10 million teenagers.

Now we all know why China wants to restrict Internet access and Internet cafes.
An explanation for Internet addiction could be a creative manner of censorship by the Chinese government. Internet is a relatively new phenomena in China, a side effect of its booming economy and technological advances, but how to control this development and how to fit it in with its communist government? Indeed Internet addiction.

And you can read about the treatment options for Internet addiction in a previous post on this blog: Electroshock treatment for Internet addiction
By the way this treatment was implemented by the same Mr Ran Director of Addiction Medicine at Beijing Military Region Central Hospital.

I hope the committee for the DSM V will be more critical about their task and evidence for this diagnosis. This proposal has nothing to do with pharmaceutical industries I hope.

What do you think should there be a diagnosis of Internet Addiction in the next DSM V?