China Defines Internet Addiction, Designates Psychiatric Units to Treat Disorder

Chinese doctors have offered the country's first diagnostic definition of Internet addiction, China Daily reported Monday.

The move is part of an effort to address increasing concerns over psychological problems that may result from Internet abuse. The country this weekend also officially designated hospital psychiatric units to treat cases of Internet addiction.

The definition was developed by doctors at Beijing's Military General Hospital. Symptoms of addiction include a yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping, according to China Daily.

The definition was developed during a study of 1,300 troubled Internet users. Addicts are classified as people who spend at least six hours a day online and who have exhibited at least one symptom of addiction in the past three months.

A Chinese legislator said this past summer that about 10 percent of Chinese Internet users under age 18 are "addicted."

A study from media company InterActiveCorp found that 42 percent of Chinese youngsters polled felt "addicted'' to the Internet, compared to 18 percent in the U.S., according to the report.

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