Preliminary Draft of the DSM-V Committee on Cyber Disorders

The Cyber Disorders section includes disorders that have a dependency upon cyber existence as the predominant feature. The section is divided into three parts. The first part describes e-mail episodes that serve as the building blocks for the disorder diagnoses. The second part describes the Cyber Disorders themselves. The criteria sets for most of the Cyber Disorders require the presence or absence of the e-mail episodes described in the first part of the section. The third part includes the specifiers that describe either the most recent e-mail episode, or the course of recurrent episodes.

The Cyber Disorders are divided into Posting Disorders, Flaming Disorders and CC Disorders. The Posting Disorders (i.e. Lurking Disorder, Chronic Posting Disorder and Posting Disorder not Otherwise Specified) are distinguished from the Flaming Disorders by the fact that there is no history of ever having posted a Flame, or Flame-with-Apology. CC Disorders (CC-All Disorder and Spam Disorder) may include episodes of Chronic Posting, Flames, and/or Flame-With-Apologies but can be distinguished by the number of addressees.

Lurking Disorder is characterized by one or more episodes of lurking (i.e. at least two weeks of lurking or loss of interest in answering mail accompanied by at least four additional symptoms of Lurking including high on-line time balances, walking away from the computer while logged on, composing posts and deleting them without sending them, etc.)

Chronic Posting Disorder is characterized by at least 4 weeks of posting to a newsgroup or listserv more days than not, accompanied by additional Cyber symptoms such as checking mail several times per day, posts in which the content is shorter than the message header or sig, and messages of extreme anxiety when list volume drops.

Posting Disorder not Otherwise Specified is included for coding disorders with posting features that do not meet the criteria for Lurking Disorder or Chronic Posting Disorder.

Flaming Disorder is characterized by one or more episodes of hot-tempered posts, usually posted within seconds of receiving the 'trigger' message, but can be distinguished from the Flame-With-Apology in that the sender has a sincere belief that he/she is 100% correct and morally entitled to his/her feelings of outrage. Flaming Disorder is often accompanied by Chronic Posting Disorder.

Flame-With-Apology Disorder is a milder form of the Flaming Disorder, in which the poster sincerely apologizes for the first portion of the message and yet sends it anyway. A variation of Flame-With-Apology exists in which posters staunchly defend their position for 3 to 4 days, then abruptly back down and revert to Chronic Posting or Lurking.

The specifiers described in the third part of the section are provided to increase diagnostic specificity, create more homogeneous subgroups, assist in treatment selection, and improve the prediction of prognosis. Some of the specifiers describe the current or most recent episode (i.e. Pine, Elm, Anonymous, With Humorous Features, and With Uncomplicated Internet Access).

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