To investigate prevalence and patterns of psychiatric disorders in young subjects with Internet addiction (IA).
Subjects were taken from a sample of patients, aged 10–18 years old, referred to Istanbul Medical Faculty, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department due to a variety of behavioral and emotional problems alongside problematic Internet use. Inclusion criteria included IQ ≥70 and score ≥80 on Young's Internet Addiction Scale (YIAS). Psychiatric comorbidity was assessed using the Turkish version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School Age Children–Present and Lifetime Version.
Subjects were 45 boys (75%) and 15 girls (25%) with an age range of 10–18 years old (mean age, 13.38 ± 1.79 years). A total of 60% (n = 36) had been using Internet for ≥5 years. Mean hours/week spent on the Internet was 53.7 (range, 30–105 h) and the average YIAS score was 85. All subjects (100%) had at least one and 88.3% (n = 53) had at least two comorbid psychiatric disorders. The frequency of diagnostic groups were as follows: behavioral disorder, n = 52 (86.7%); anxiety disorder, n = 43 (71.7%); mood disorder, n = 23 (38.3%); elimination disorder, n = 16 (26.7%); tic disorder, n = 10 (16.7%); and substance use disorder, n = 4 (6.7%). The most common psychiatric disorders were attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (n = 53; 83.3%), social phobia (n = 21; 35.0%) and major depressive disorder (n = 18; 30.0%).
High rates of psychiatric comorbidity, particularly behavioral, anxiety and mood disorders were found in young subjects with IA. Because the presence of psychiatric disorders may affect the management /prognosis of IA, assessment should include that for other psychiatric disorders.