Plenary Lecture

Are Behavioral Addictions a Specific Chapter of the Postmodernist Psychopathology?

Professor Daniel Vasile
Universitary Emergency Central Military Hospital
E-mail : danielvpsy@yahoo.com

Abstract: Postmodernist societies are confronted with new challenges in the domain of psychopathology, as a result of the cultural paradigm shift, globalization, higher sense of alienation, and increasing access to technological developments. Although behavioral addictions have common features with drug-related dependence, they are quite a distinct category within current psychopathology and further research is needed until clear-cut diagnosis criteria and therapeutic guidelines will be formulated. Internet surfing addiction, gaming dependence, food addiction, exercise addiction, smartphone/SMS addiction, compulsive shopping, spending addiction, internet pornography addiction and many more nosological entities have been described in the literature in the last 10-15 years. Several scales for screening and monitoring some of these disorders have been published, but for many behavioral addictions there is a paucity of instruments, and the clinical monitorization is based solely on the case manager’s experience. Neurobiology of these conditions has been presumed to be similar with the drug-related dependence, with the dopamine reward circuits being the cornerstone for understanding behavioral addictions pathophysiology. Exposure with response prevention, cognitive restructuring, relaxation techniques, and 12-steps approaches have been applied in these patients with variable degree of success. Still, the ontological question of which is the best way to conceptualize behavioral addictions persists: are these disorders an extreme manifestation of a new way of life in an increasingly technologized environment, or are they only different forms of manifestations of the old drug-related disorders?

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Dr. Daniel Vasile is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology at University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”, Bucharest and chief of the Clinic of Psychiatry at the Universitary Emergency Central Military Hospital “Dr. Carol Davila”, Bucharest, Romania. He is a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. in medical sciences from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”, Bucharest and his M.sC. from University of Bucharest, Faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance. Postgraduate work in research and clinical domains in France, Belgium, Spain, and Netherlands. He published 11 books as first author, regarding drug dependences, psychopharmacology and general psychopathology. He participated in the realization of 160 papers published in international and national journals of psychiatry and psychopharmacology. Seven of these studies were published in ISI indexed journals. He was distinguished with four awards at international scientific meetings. He worked in more than 30 multicentric clinical trials (phase IIa, IIb, III) as Principal Investigator.

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