Compulsive Video Gaming Seen As Tied To Psychiatric Disorders

New research suggests an “addiction” to video games is often associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.

Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a clinical psychologist specialist at Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen (UiB), surveyed more than 20,000 participants on videogame addiction.

“Video game addiction is more prevalent among younger men, and among those not being in a current relationship, than others,” said Andreassen.

“Excessively engaging in gaming may function as an escape mechanism for, or coping with, underlying psychiatric disorders in attempt to alleviate unpleasant feelings, and to calm restless bodies.”

According to Andreassen, the large study shows some clear tendencies as to which people develop addictive use of social media.

“The study implies that younger with some of these characteristics could be targeted regarding preventing development of an unhealthy gaming pattern.”

The research, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, also showed that addiction related to videogames and computer activities shows sex differences.

“Men seem generally more likely to become addicted to online gaming, gambling, and cyber-pornography, while women to social media, texting, and online shopping,” Schou Andreassen says.

The study uses seven criteria to identify video game addiction where gaming experiences last six months. Responses were scored on a scale from Never to Very often:

  • you think about playing a game all day;
  • you spend increasing amounts of time on games;
  • you play games to forget about real life;
  • others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use;
  • you feel bad when you are unable to play;
  • you have fights with others (e.g., family, friends) over your time spent on games;
  • you neglect other important activities (e.g., school, work, sports) to play games

Scoring high on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are addicted to video gaming associated with impaired health, work, school, and/or social relations.

Video game addiction is not the norm, as Andreassen explains, “most people have a relaxed relationship to video games and fairly good control.”

Source: University of Bergen
Young man addicted to online gaming photo by shutterstock.