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Addiction. 2017 Oct;112(10):1709-1715. doi: 10.1111/add.13763. Epub 2017 Feb 15.

How can we conceptualize behavioural addiction without pathologizing common behaviours?

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
2
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
3
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, Kore University of Enna, Enna, Italy.
4
Department of Communication Sciences, imec-mict-Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
5
Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain, Belgium.
6
Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
7
Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
8
Gambling Treatment Clinic and Research, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
9
Geneva University Hospital, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
10
Institute for Health and Behavior, Integrative Research Unit on Social and Individual Development (INSIDE), University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg.
11
Internet and gambling disorders Clinic, Department of Adult Psychiatry, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

Following the recent changes to the diagnostic category for addictive disorders in DSM-5, it is urgent to clarify what constitutes behavioural addiction to have a clear direction for future research and classification. However, in the years following the release of DSM-5, an expanding body of research has increasingly classified engagement in a wide range of common behaviours and leisure activities as possible behavioural addiction. If this expansion does not end, both the relevance and the credibility of the field of addictive disorders might be questioned, which may prompt a dismissive appraisal of the new DSM-5 subcategory for behavioural addiction. We propose an operational definition of behavioural addiction together with a number of exclusion criteria, to avoid pathologizing common behaviours and provide a common ground for further research. The definition and its exclusion criteria are clarified and justified by illustrating how these address a number of theoretical and methodological shortcomings that result from existing conceptualizations. We invite other researchers to extend our definition under an Open Science Foundation framework.

KEYWORDS:

Addiction theory; DSM-5; behavioral addiction; diagnosis; gambling disorder; internet gaming disorder; non-substance related addictions; pathologization; theory development

PMID:
28198052
PMCID:
PMC5557689
DOI:
10.1111/add.13763
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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