Co-Morbid Psychopathology of Patients with Pathological Internet use and Alcoholism - A Comparative Study
- *Corresponding Author:
- Felix Wedegaertner, MPH
Department of Psychiatry
Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Hanover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany
E-mail: [email protected]
Received October 25, 2011; Accepted January 16, 2012; Published January 20, 2012
Citation:te Wildt BT, Siebrasse P, Putzig I, Dillo W, Wiese B, et al. (2012) Co- Morbid Psychopathology of Patients with Pathological Internet use and Alcoholism – A Comparative Study. J Addict Res Ther S6:002. doi:10.4172/2155-6105.S6-002
Copyright: © 2012 te Wildt BT, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Aims: There is increasing concern that the Internet and video games contain an addictive potential. However, it has been discussed, whether pathological Internet use (PIU) is to be diagnosed as an impulse control disorder as pathological gambling or in analogy to substance abuse disorders. Contributing to this discussion, the study compares psychopathological features and co-morbidities of patients with PIU and alcoholism. Methods: Both 25 Internet- and alcohol-dependent patients were assessed for psychopathological symptomatology and co-morbidity with the Structured Clinical Interview according to DSM-IV (SKID), the Symptom-Checklist (SCL-90R), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Connors’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales (CAARS) and the Barrat Impulsiveness Scale (BIS). For the PIU-patients the level of dependency was measured with the Internet Addiction Scale (ISS) and for the alcohol addicted patients with the Trier Alcoholism Scale (TIA). Both patient groups were matched with control groups containing 25 individuals with an analogous distribution in terms of age, sex and education. Results: As opposed to 44% of the alcohol addicted patients all PIU-patients (100%) fulfilled the criteria of another psychiatric disease, especially depression and anxiety disorders. As compared to their control groups, both the alcohol and the Internet addicted patients scored significantly higher in terms of depression (BDI), impulsivity (BIS) and inattention (CAARS). However, in none of the psychometric tests the two patient groups showed significant differences. Conclusions: Patients with PIU exhibit a clinical level of psychopathological symptomatology and share similar psychopathological and co-morbid features with alcohol addiction. In order to examine this novel form of addiction further and to treat patients adequately, it is argued that PIU should be established as a diagnostic entity in line with behavioral and substance addictions within diagnostic classification systems.