“Internet-use disorder” will be included in the DSM-IV, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a worldwide psychiatric manual, beginning in May 2013. The diagnosis will include those who are addicted to their smartphones, as well as to those who are addicted to using tablet computers, laptops, and desktop machines.
Australian experts joined the Australian Pscyhological Society in submitting the classification to the international manual, and also added an inclusion of internet gaming addiction. Kids have been identified as being especially at risk.
“Internet-use disorder” will be included in the manual as a condition “recommended for further study.”
Psychologists believe that internet addiction should be categorized like other addiction disorders, as it has similar symptoms including emotional shutdown, lack of concentration and withdrawal. Parents have noted their kids prefer to play a videogame over eating or social interaction, and have said their children become angry and violent when their electronic gadgets are taken away from them.
The inclusion in the manual is one step closer to classifying Internet addiction as a mental illness. The inclusion demonstrates that there are risks posed by the overuse of technology, and notes that more research is required. This could lead to formal diagnoses of the disorder in the future.