China has specified the definition and diagnosis standard for internet addiction in its latest adolescent-health-education guideline.
Internet addiction refers to the subject exhibiting uncontrollable internet use without being affected by other addictive substances, says the document released late last month by China's National Health Commission.
The symptoms of internet addiction include academic, professional and social dysfunction following internet overuse, states the report, adding that the duration of the subject's addictive actions is a major criterion in diagnosing such a disorder, with symptoms having to have lasted at least 12 months.
Figures show that the rate of excessive internet dependence among adolescents has reached 6 percent worldwide, while the rate in China is closer to 10 percent, says Lu Lin, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and head of the Peking University Sixth Hospital.
As far as internet addiction is related to other psychological issues like anxiety and depression, its clinical treatment should also conform to the regulations of addressing those issues, says Lu.
He calls for joint efforts from families, schools and adolescents to solve the problem, as internet addiction is not just a medical issue.
The education guideline addresses other health issues, including obesity and myopia, among children and teens.