Phenomenology and treatment of behavioural addictions

Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.
Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie (Impact Factor: 2.55). 05/2013; 58(5):252-9.
Source: PubMed


Behavioural addictions are characterized by an inability to resist an urge or drive resulting in actions that are harmful to oneself or others. Behavioural addictions share characteristics with substance and alcohol abuse, and in areas such as natural history, phenomenology, and adverse consequences. Behavioural addictions include pathological gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, compulsive buying, compulsive sexual behaviour, Internet addiction, and binge eating disorder. Few studies have examined the efficacy of pharmacological and psychological treatment for the various behavioural addictions, and therefore, currently, no treatment recommendations can be made.

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    • "Nevertheless, there is a sum of different terms used in the scientific literature when referring to an overuse of the Internet, such as Internet addiction (Young, 1998b, 2004; Hansen, 2002; Chou et al., 2005; Widyanto and Griffiths, 2006; Young et al., 2011), compulsive Internet use (Meerkerk et al., 2006, 2009, 2010), Internet-related addictive behavior (Brenner, 1997), Internet-related problems (Widyanto et al., 2008), problematic Internet use (Caplan, 2002), and pathological Internet use (Davis, 2001). We prefer the term Internet addiction, since we see some important parallels between Internet addiction and other so-called behavioral addictions (e.g., Grant et al., 2013) and substance dependency (see also Griffiths, 2005; Meerkerk et al., 2009), which we will summarize in Sections “Neuropsychological Correlates of Internet Addiction” and “Neuroimaging Correlates of Internet Addiction.” "
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    ABSTRACT: Most people use the Internet as a functional tool to perform their personal goals in everyday-life such as making airline or hotel reservations. However, some individuals suffer from a loss of control over their Internet use resulting in personal distress, symptoms of psychological dependence, and diverse negative consequences. This phenomenon is often referred to as Internet addiction. Only Internet Gaming Disorder has been included in the appendix of the DSM-5, but it has already been argued that Internet addiction could also comprise problematic use of other applications with cybersex, online relations, shopping, and information search being Internet facets at risk for developing an addictive behavior. Neuropsychological investigations have pointed out that certain prefrontal functions in particular executive control functions are related to symptoms of Internet addiction, which is in line with recent theoretical models on the development and maintenance of the addictive use of the Internet. Control processes are particularly reduced when individuals with Internet addiction are confronted with Internet-related cues representing their first choice use. For example, processing Internet-related cues interferes with working memory performance and decision making. Consistent with this, results from functional neuroimaging and other neuropsychological studies demonstrate that cue-reactivity, craving, and decision making are important concepts for understanding Internet addiction. The findings on reductions in executive control are consistent with other behavioral addictions, such as pathological gambling. They also emphasize the classification of the phenomenon as an addiction, because there are also several similarities with findings in substance dependency. The neuropsychological and neuroimaging results have important clinical impact, as one therapy goal should enhance control over the Internet use by modifying specific cognitions and Internet use expectancies.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2014; 8:375. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00375 · 3.63 Impact Factor

  • Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie 05/2013; 58(5):249-51. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Research into frequent, excessive, and compulsive social network activity has increased the last years, in which terms such as "social network site addiction" and "Facebook addiction" have been used interchangeably. The aim of this review is to offer more knowledge and better understanding of social network site addiction (SNS-addiction) among researchers as well as clinicians by presenting a narrative overview of the research field in terms of definition, measurement, antecedents, consequences, and treatment as well as recommendations for future research efforts. Seven different measures of SNS-addiction have been developed, although they have to a very little extent been validated against each other. The small number of studies conducted so far on this topic suggests that SNS-addiction is associated with health-related, academic, and interpersonal problems/issues. However such studies have relied on a simple cross-sectional study design. It is therefore hard to draw any conclusions about potential causality and long-term effects at this point, beyond hypothetical speculations. Empirical studies suggest that SNS-addiction is caused by dispositional factors (e.g., personality, needs, self-esteem), although relevant explanatory socio-cultural and behavioral reinforcement factors remain to be empirically explored. No well-documented treatment for SNS-addiction exists, but knowledge gained from Internet addiction treatment approaches might be transferable to SNS-addiction. Overall, the research on this topic is in its infancy, and as such the SNS-addiction construct needs further conceptual and empirical exploration. There is a great demand for studies using careful longitudinal designs and studies which include objective measures of both behavior and health based on broad representative samples.
    Current pharmaceutical design 08/2013; 20(25). DOI:10.2174/13816128113199990616 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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