Highlighting Internet-Communication Disorder as Further Internet-Use Disorder When Considering Neuroimaging Studies


Purpose of Review

Besides gaming disorder, which has recently been included in the ICD-11, several other types of Internet-use behaviors were shown to have addictive potential causing impairments in daily life. Research on Internet-communication disorder (ICD) focuses on the pathological use of Internet-communication applications. However, its clinical relevance as well as similarities to other addictive behaviors have to be clarified.

Recent Findings

Recent neuropsychological studies try to identify relevant neural mechanisms underlying ICD. Summarizing the results of brain imaging studies indicate the relevance of brain areas associated with reward processing and reinforcement learning in the context of ICD. The findings are consistent with theoretical assumptions and empirical findings on other addictive behaviors.


The current review highlights similarities between different kinds of Internet-use disorders. Regarding ICD, evidence is still rare and relevant standards are missing. Further studies, especially with treatment seekers, are needed to clarify the clinical relevance and to identify convergent and divergent components of general and specific (Internet-related) addictive behaviors.

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Correspondence to Matthias Brand.

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Wegmann, E., Müller, S.M., Ostendorf, S. et al. Highlighting Internet-Communication Disorder as Further Internet-Use Disorder When Considering Neuroimaging Studies. Curr Behav Neurosci Rep 5, 295–301 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40473-018-0164-7

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  • Internet addiction
  • Social networking sites
  • Behavioral addiction
  • Gaming disorder