Internet addiction is now considered a clinical disorder rather than a bad habit, a new Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) diagnostic manual approved over the weekend by psychologists has shown.
Lingering online for more than six hours a day instead of working or studying and having adverse reactions from not being able to get online have been identified as two major symptoms of IAD.
Based on the report, sufferers usually engage in five main activities: Online gaming, Net pornography, excessive involvement in virtual social networking, too much Internet shopping and general cyber-surfing.
The manual would be the first of its kind in the world if the Ministry of Health officially approves it, said Tao Ran, a leading medical professional on addiction in China who also headed the drafting of the manual.
The ministry is likely to give the manual the green light next year, Tao said.
The American Psychiatric Association is debating whether to include IAD in the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the profession's primary resource of categorizing and diagnosing mental illnesses, due for publication in 2010, US media reported.
China has taken such a lead in the study of the affliction because of its rise in the country, Tao said. About 10 percent of the country's 40 million underage Net users are addicted to the Web, a report released in August by the National People's Congress Standing Committee showed.
Research conducted by Internet media company InterActiveCorp last year also showed that 42 percent of Chinese youngsters polled felt "addicted" to the Web, while only 18 percents of Americans were said to have felt the same way.
Gao Wenbin, a researcher with the psychology institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the lack of family care, companions and real-life games are major reasons behind the rising number of young Net addicts in the country. "Most children in China are the only ones in their families. They are told only to study hard, but no one really cares about their needs," Gao said.
1. List 2 of the 5 main activities sufferers of net addiction usually engage in.
2. What do the 3 letters IAD stand for?
1. Online gaming, Net pornography, excessive involvement in virtual social networking, too much Internet shopping and general cyber-surfing.
2. Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD).
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.