G. Bersani, ItalySapienza University of Rome Department of Medico-surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies
Moderator of 1 Session
The novel coronavirus pandemic 2019 (COVID-19) is posing new critical challenges in many areas of mental health worldwice, such as: 1) widespread social alarm, with an overall increase of anxiety states, somatic concerns, and mood sensitivity; 2) long-lasting physical distancing due to both the response to public health protection rules and also voluntary conduct. The interaction of such conditions sharply increases the risk of inducing or reinforcing some features of conduct disorders, such as behavioural addictions. To go in-depth into the psychosocial meaning of these conducts is quite timely and potentially urgent from a clinical point of view. Addictive conducts born or reinforced in a long-lasting self-distancing condition may grow over time and root themselves also in a future normalized situation. Some behavioural risks must be considered: a) increased time spent using Internet, with very frequent development of mild to severe forms of addiction, including a compulsive need to be in touch with other people, increased/addicted use of social media., anxiety reaction when not online, etc.) onset/increase of specific Internet-use profiles with high addictive risk, such as online gambling, gaming, shopping; most common forms of internet use may become problematic in distressed self-distancing conditions; c) increased time of physical exercise at home with compulsive features, in people with a previous profile of exercise addiction and also the lack of access to a specific sports addiction; d) possible influence on course and shaping of previously existent or newly induced features of mental disorders.
Presenter of 2 Presentations
S0080 - Internet Addiction and Mental Disorders: Clinical Effects by Self-distancing
We face today the huge and very rapid worldwide growth of behavioural issues related to the use of Internet. The definition of Problematic Internet Use (PIU) refers to new behavioural patterns that can potentially affect in variable degree, from mild to extremely severe, both individual and social wellbeing. PIU is strongly increasing in people affected by different forms of mental disorders and personality disorders, often inducing substantial changes in their clinical phenomenology, with consequent emergence of new symptom and course profiles. On the other side, PIU represents itself with growing frequency as a factor with high potential of inducing progressive psychological and behavioural impairment, with possible negative outcome on personal and psychosocial wellbeing and adjustment, also potentially leading to the development of new specific forms of psychopathology. Among PIU patterns, Internet Addiction (IA) plays a central role, due to its wide diffusion and behavioural as well as interpersonal and social consequences. The worldwide COVID 19 epidemics induced limitations in direct social relationships, such as social distancing, appear to lead to changes of patterns of IA, for an increase of time spent in addictive behaviour and a further reduction of research of interpersonal contacts. Obsessive-compulsive and autistic-like behaviour are differently reinforced by the combined effect of compulsory self distancing and general health concern, but also possibly induced in previously not affected subjects. Anxiety and mood reactivity also contributes to maladjustment profiles. Further evidences and new guide-lines are requested to face this novel and multifactorial social and clinical phenomenon.