Internet Addiction Disorder – Case Files of Internet Addiction Disorder and Psychosis

Posted on:February 19, 2018
Last Updated: November 24, 2023
Time to read: 7 minutes

A 17-year-old student was brought to the clinic by his parents with a one-week history of changed behaviour and unusual beliefs. He started believing that his movements and actions were controlled by an external force through his laptop and phone resulting in him stopping their use.

Also, he felt that he was being followed by an unknown group of people through electronic devices. So he was reluctant to leave the house.

He had been studying information technology and electronics for his university entrance exam and had been an academically well-performing student.

Over the last 6 months, he started using internet excessively with the intention of finding information to make a drone. Besides schooling, he avoided all other activities and spent hours in front of the laptop.

He slept only for 2-3 hours on some days because he somehow wanted to complete his wish of flying a drone created by him. His interactions with family and friends also became much less. He became agitated and irritable when his parents tried to control his internet use.

He came from a middle class closely knit family with an Asian background. Both parents were caring and showed reasonable parenting practices.

There was no significant history of medical or psychiatric illness or substance use. Also, there was no family history of psychiatric illness. He was a developmentally normal adolescent with average academic performance. He was a quiet person with few close friends who was ‘loved‘ by his teachers.

Mental state examination revealed perplexed mood, persecutory delusions, delusions of reference and delusions of control involving technological devices. He showed partial insight.

Blood investigations and neuroimaging studies did not reveal any abnormality.

He responded well to Risperidone 3 mg and was completely symptom-free by 3 weeks.


3. Proposed diagnostic criteria for internet addiction

Tao, R., Huang, X., Wang, J., Zhang, H., Zhang, Y. & Li, M.
(2010). Proposed diagnostic criteria for internet addiction. Addiction,
105(3), 556–564.