Problematic Internet Use

Problematic Internet Use in Young Portuguese People, an article by Ivone Patrão PhD, ISPA-University Institute (‘Promoting Human Potential’ Research Group)

internat-addiction-disorderThe article by Ivone Patrão aims to present clinical experience gained from interventions with young people engaging in problematic internet use and their families. It discusses the question of criteria used to diagnose problematic internet use and presents studies carried out with young Portuguese people, which indicate the risk profiles.

Keywords: Problematic internet use, addiction, young people, clinical intervention.

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Excerpt from the article

It is of interest to consider the existing therapeutic responses, both from a psychotherapeutic standpoint and from a pharmacological one. Based on literature and clinical experience, a number of options are presented for intervention at individual, family and group level.

Treatment poses complex challenges. Firstly, because it is a clinical state which is still being studied and the nature of which is still hotly debated. Secondly, because scientific studies in this field are still few and far between and  existing work has significant limitations and methodological flaws (King, Delfabbro, Griffiths & Gradisar, 2012; Wölfling, Beutel, Dreier & Müller, 2014).  Until consensus is reached, approaches will inevitably reflect the individual conceptions of whoever is involved in the case.

On major point of consensus among specialists and researchers in this field is that the goal of treatment must be realistic, whatever methodology is applied. Internet and PIU are omnipresent in everyday life today. Thus, in contrast to the approach taken with, for example, substance abuse involving alcoholism or drug addiction, in which  total abstinence from the addictive substance is recommended, treatment of PIU needs to encourage controlled and moderate use of internet, making it similar to that of eating disorders (in which the goal is to establish balance and self-control in relation to food).

Biographical Note

Ivone Patrão is a clinical psychologist, she has a Masters and PhD in Psychology of Health (ISPA-Instituto Universitario), as well as being a therapist in family relationships. She has been carrying out clinical work with the Portuguese National Health Service for a number of years, working with children, young adults and families, and in recent years has specialised in the area of technology dependence. She is a teacher and researcher (ISPA-IU,  Promoting Human Potential research group) and has published several scientific articles and books. A contributing member of NUPI – Nucleus on Problematic Internet Use (HSM-CHLN). Senior Health Technician at ARSLVT,IP.

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