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Psychosoc Med. 2007 Oct 4;4:Doc11.

Diagnostic instruments for behavioural addiction: an overview.

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Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, Clinic and Policlinic for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.


In non-substance-related addiction, the so-called behavioural addiction, no external psychotropic substances are consumed. The psychotropic effect consists of the body's own biochemical processes induced only by excessive activities. Until recently, knowledge was limited with respect to clinically relevant excessive reward-seeking behaviour, such as pathological gambling, excessive shopping and working which meet diagnostic criteria of dependent behaviour. To date, there is no consistent concept for diagnosis and treatment of excessive reward-seeking behaviour, and its classification is uncertain. Therefore, a clear conceptualization of the so-called behavioural addictions is of great importance. The use of adequate diagnostic instruments is necessary for successful therapeutical implications.This article provides an overview of the current popular diagnostic instruments assessing the different forms of behavioural addiction. Especially in certain areas there are only few valid and reliable instruments available to assess excessive rewarding behaviours that fulfill the criteria of addiction.


behavioural addiction; diagnoses; psychometric instruments


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