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Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 0717-9227


BERNER G, Juan Enrique  and  SANTANDER T, Jaime. Internet abuse and dependence: the epidemic and its controversy. Rev. chil. neuro-psiquiatr. [online]. 2012, vol.50, n.3, pp.181-190. ISSN 0717-9227.

Background: Since Internet made its first appearance for the general public, and its thereafter growth, different emerging health issues have been described. The discussion has taken place not only in the mass media, but also in the academy, initially with case reports of abuse and dependence, and now that it has been considered as a new diagnosis in the not yet finished DSM-V, either as another category within the substance abuse, or another one more related to the impulse control disorders. Methods: A systematic review of the published literature about the subject was done using related MESH terms: "Internet", "Behavior, Addictive", "Impulse Control Disorders" e "Impulsive Behavior" between 2006 and march 2012. Results: The prevalence of Internet abuse and dependence has been difficult to determine because of the lack of consensus in the diagnostic criteria. As other psychiatric entities, genetic and psychological risk factors could be involved, as well as it could be associated with other comorbidities such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, ADHD, alcohol abuse and eating disorders. Neuroimaging studies have shown evidence of neurobiological similarities with the structures involved in substance dependence. Conclusion: For answering many of these queries specific terminology is required, in order to validate new instruments for diagnosis and follow up as well, in order to in the future describe the risk factors, natural history and treatment alternatives for this emerging disease.

Keywords : Internet; abuse; dependence; impulsive behavior.

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