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Editor's e-Note
The jury is still out on some nonsubstance, behavioral, or “process addictions” and those related to technology are among them. Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is not universally recognized and does not appear in DSM-5. But many researchers and addiction experts agree that excessive internet use can interfere with daily life and individual time management and have health consequences.

This month’s E-News Exclusive takes a look at IAD and reports on what some clinicians are saying about it. One expert cautions, “The brain doesn’t care whether you are engaged in consuming alcohol or clicking on websites. It doesn’t have a DSM-5 inside it. The brain is just interested in the elevation of dopamine as well as related addictive behaviors.” Read the exclusive and learn more about how some technology-related behaviors are being viewed as addictions.

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Internet Addiction Disorder — The Debate Continues
By Kimberley L. Berlin, LCSW, CSAC, SAP

Worldwide, there are 3.3 billion users of the internet, representing 46.4% of the population. “Internet addiction disorder” (IAD) affects an estimated 10% and 30% of the general population and falls squarely into the category of “impulse control disorder” (Gregory, 2018). While there are several alternatives to the nomenclature, it points to the same fact: Whether spending hours gaming or posting for hours on Facebook, losing control of our technology use has become a very real problem.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that “gaming disorder” (also known as “digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) will be included as a disorder in the International Classification of Diseases in the 11th version, scheduled for publication later this summer. This is in contrast to the DSM-5, which does not include many behavioral or process disorders as part of the overarching diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders. Gambling, for instance, is appended as a subset to addictions. The fact that WHO has sounded the alarm on gaming reflects a very real trend in problems with dependence on technology overall.

William F. Haning, III, MD, is on the board of directors of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and is the editor-in-chief of its publication ASAM Weekly. When it comes to the skepticism around IAD, Haning says, “Two central issues with which all are concerned are: Can a formal disorder, colloquially an addiction, be justified on the basis of current evidence, and, if so, what are the criteria by which such a disorder would be defined?”

Full Story »
Tech & Tools
Study Shows Promise of Faster, More Accessible Schizophrenia Diagnosis

A portable device common in optometrists’ offices may hold the key to faster diagnosis of schizophrenia, predicting relapse and symptom severity and assessing treatment effectiveness, a Rutgers University study finds.

In the study, published in the May 2018 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, researchers used RETeval, a handheld device developed to record electrical activity from the retina, to replicate and extend prior studies showing that people with schizophrenia had abnormal electrical activity in the retina. This was the first time a portable device was used for these tests. The results show the device accurately indicated reduced electrical activity in the retina in multiple cell layers in the participants who had schizophrenia, including in cell types that had not been studied before in this disorder.

“Schizophrenia is a devastating disorder, probably the most disabling disorder long term. Although we know quite a bit about it, it’s still not that well understood,” says Steven Silverstein, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and director of research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC), who designed the study. “Our study should help generate further research into developing a test that clinicians—like psychologists, psychiatrists, or nurses—can use in their offices to diagnose, treat, and monitor the condition of people with schizophrenia.”

Read more »
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