Behavioural addictions in children and adolescents
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University of Zielona Gora, Poland
Submission date: 2017-03-30
Acceptance date: 2017-06-12
Online publication date: 2017-09-22
Publication date: 2017-09-22
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2017;5(3):206–214
The emergence in DSM-5 of gambling addiction as the first official behavioural addiction has opened a new chapter in the thinking about and research into behavioural pathology. We are becoming increasingly aware of the causes, mechanisms and consequences of addictive behaviour, but the majority of the work is conducted mainly on adult populations. Although the use of the term “behavioural addiction” in children and adolescents is controversial due to the dynamic nature of their development processes, there is no doubt that more and more young people are involved in addictive behaviours that negatively affect their lives. The currently still few studies are throwing new light on the early symptoms of behavioural addictions observed in increasingly younger children.
This article is a review of current knowledge about potential behavioural addictions in the first two decades of life viewed from the perspective of developmental psychopathology. While there is significantly less research into addictive behaviours in childhood and adolescence than in later decades, empirical evidence has clearly shown that early symptoms of behavioural addiction pose a significant threat to the mental health of children and adolescents, both now and in the future. The article discusses the definition of behavioural addiction in the DSM-5 context, the controversy surrounding the diagnosis of these disorders in young people, the behavioural addictions in children and adolescents, and the identified risk factors for early-onset behavioural addictions.
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