Internet Addiction Disorder | Pornography & Cyber Sex



Anecdotal reports have long sustained that Internet users become addicted to the Internet in much that same way that others became addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addictive and compulsive internet use has clearly resulted in significant academic, social, and occupational impairment for many of us. More rigorous research among sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists is now formally identifying addictive use of the Internet as a problematic “treatable” addictive behavior. Kimberly Young’s study investigated the existence of Internet addiction and the extent of problems caused by such potential misuse. This study utilized an adapted version of the criteria for pathological gambling defined by the DSM-IV (APA, 1994). On the basis of this criteria, case studies of 396 dependent Internet users (Dependents) and a control group of 100 non-dependent Internet users (Non-Dependents) were classified. Qualitative analyses suggests significant behavioral and functional usage differences between the two groups. Clinical and social implications of pathological Internet use and future directions for research are discussed.


Internet Addiction: The Emergence Of A New Clinical Disorder Methodology


Recent experimental research reports have indicated that some on-line users were becoming “addicted” to the Internet in much the same way that others became addicted to various drugs, alcohol, or behavioral compulsions like gambling, pornography, cyber sex chat rooms which resulted in significant academic failure (Brady, 1996; Murphey, 1996); drastically reduced work performance (Robert Half International, 1996), and extreme marital discord, separation and divorce (Quittner, 1997). Clinical research on behavioral addictions has focused on compulsive gambling (Mobilia, 1993), overeating (Lesieur & Blume, 1993), and compulsive sexual behavior (Goodman, 1993). Similar addiction analogues have been applied to technological overuse (Griffiths, 1996), computer dependency (Shotton, 1991), excessive television viewing (Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; McIlwraith et al., 1991), and obsessive compulsive video game playing (Keepers, 1991). However, the concept of addictive Internet use has not been empirically researched. Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate if Internet usage could be considered addictive and to identify the extent of problems created by such misuse.

With the popularity and wide-spread promotion of the Internet, this study first sought to determine a set of criteria which would define addictive from normal Internet usage. If a workable set of criteria could be effective in diagnosis, then such criteria could be used in clinical treatment settings and facilitate future research on addictive Internet use. However, proper diagnosis is often complicated by the fact that the term addiction is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Of all the diagnoses referenced in the DSM-IV, Pathological Gambling was viewed as most akin to the pathological nature of Internet use. By using Pathological Gambling as a model, Internet addiction can be defined as an impulse-control disorder which does not involve an intoxicant. Therefore, Young’s study developed a brief eight-item questionnaire referred to as a Diagnostic Questionnaire (DQ) which modified criteria for pathological gambling to provide a screening instrument for addictive Internet use:

  1. Do you find that you are preoccupied with the Internet (think about previous on-line activity or anticipate next on-line session)?
  2. Do you feel the need to use the Internet with increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction?
  3. Have you repeatedly made unsuccessful efforts to modify control, cut back, or stop Internet use?
  4. Do you feel restless, moody, depressed, or irritable and urgentwhen attempting to cut down or stopInternet use?
  5. Do you stay on-line longer than originally intended?
  6. Have you jeopardized and risked the loss of valued and significant relationship, job, educational orcareer opportunity because of the Internet?
  7. Have you deceived  family members, your therapist, or others to conceal the extent ofinvolvement with the Internet?
  8. Do you use the Internet technology as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving a dysphoric

mood (e.g., sense of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, depression)?

Read more below!

Kimberly S. Young

University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
Published in CyberPsychology and Behavior, Vol. 1 No. 3., pages 237-244