Internet Addiction Revisited

Clinical Update

By Zur Institute

View a complete list of Clinical Updates.

Internet Addiction

Internet use, overuse, abuse and addiction have been among the most intense areas of psychological inquiry in the last decade. As millions of people send billions of messages and posts on a daily basis, it becomes increasingly difficult to detect the line between what is addiction and what is a normal part of living in the digital age.

The Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ) is used to diagnose the disorder. While Internet Addiction is not a DSM disorder (and will not be included in the upcoming DSM-5), the widely used IADQ is a helpful way to make an assessment.

At least five of the following symptoms must be present in order to make a diagnosis of Internet Addiction.

Does the client:

  • Feel preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous online activity or anticipate the next online session)?
  • Feel the need to use the Internet for increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
  • Repeatedly make unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
  • Feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop Internet use?
  • Stay online longer than originally intended?
  • Jeopardize or risk the loss of a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the Internet?
  • Lie to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet?
  • Use the Internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric mood (e.g., feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?