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Date of Publication: 
2015/11

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The repetitive excessive use of internet has led to an increasing number of reports about the negative consequences of overuse and is now viewed as an important public health issue, although the diagnosis of internet addiction remains problematic. Increasing knowledge about the neurobiological mechanism of behavioral addictions will promote future research and is essential for the development of specific and effective treatment. Growing evidence suggests that the neurobiological substrates and pathways of internet addiction resemble those of substance dependency and other forms of behavioral addictions.This paper reviews the current neuroimaging findings and genetic influencing factors for problematic internet use (PIN)/internet addiction. Recent evidence from neuro-scientific studies has pointed out that certain dysfunctions in the prefrontal cortex possibly driven by impaired dopamine neurotransmission are related to symptoms of internet addiction. Finally the literature on psychological and pharmacological interventions for internet addiction will be discussed. However, due to a lack of methodological sound treatment studies in this field it is currently impossible to recommend any evidence-based treatment of internet addiction.

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