2015 | Month:December | Volume:2 | Issue:3 | Page:172-179

Internet Addiction and Substance Use Disorders in Adolescent Students - A Cross Sectional Study

Behavioral addiction and substance use are on a rise among adolescents throughout the world and co-occurring psychiatric morbidities is an obstacle for treatment seeking and prognosis. The current study aims to find out the prevalence of substance use disorders, excessive internet use among adolescent school students and the factors responsible for it. Adolescents from various schools in a northern district from Kerala were recruited in the study and assessed using Young’s Internet Addiction Test, CRAFFT substance use screening test and revised Kuppuswamy’s Socio-economic Scale along with a semi-structured questionnaire assessing demographic profile of the individual. On evaluating 803 adolescents, 97 students (13.4%) were positive for IAT with 1.2% of total positives rated as severe, 32.9% rated as moderate positive while rest 65.9% were mild positive. Forty-two students use alcohol i.e. 5.2% of the students sampled. Fifteen students abuse marijuana or hashish while 12 students use other substances (sniffing glue, prescription drugs) Overall prevalence of substance use screened by CRAFFT questionnaire is 8.3%; 1.8% fulfilled criteria for substance dependence according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders- Fourth Edition (DSM IV) from total samples. A significant association between substance use disorders and excessive internet study is reported from the current study. Prevalence of substance use disorders and internet addiction is an emerging entity among adolescents and has serious repercussions on the developing brain. A long term effect of internet use on the brain is an area to be explored in the future.

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