Cyber disorders: the mental health concern for the new millennium

KIMBERLY YOUNG, Psy.D.

MOLLY PISTNER, B.A.

JAMES O’MARA, B.A.

JENNIFER BUCHANAN, B.A.

Anecdotal evidence has suggested that mental health practitioners’ report increased caseloads of clients whose primary complaint involves the Internet. However, little is known about the incidence, associated behaviors, attitudes of practitioners, and interventions involved related to this relatively new phenomenon. Therefore, this study surveyed therapists who have treated clients suffering from cyber-related problems to gather such outcome information. Respondents reported an average caseload of nine clients who they classified as Internet-addicted, with a range between 2 and 50 clients treated within the past year. Five general subtypes of Internet addiction were categorized based on the most problematic types of online applications, and they include addictions to Cybersex, Cyber-relationships, online stock trading or gambling, information surfing, and computer games. Treatment strategies included cognitivebehavioral approaches, sexual offender therapy, marital and family therapy, social skills training, and pharmacological interventions. Based on their client encounters, efforts to initiate support groups and recovery programs specializing in the treatment of Internet addiction were being considered. Finally, based upon the findings, this article examines the impact of cyberdisorders on future research, treatment, and public policy issues for the new millennium.

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Young, K. S., Pistner, M., O’Mara, J., & Buchanan, J. (1999). Cyber disorders: the mental health concern for the new millennium. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 2(5), 475–479.

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