New Research Says Gaming Addiction May Be A Sign Of OCD, ADHD

Source: Lars Frantzen

Source: Lars Frantzen

We all know someone in our lives who seems to never be able to put down the video game controller. Most of the time it is just someone who is passionate about their hobby, but in some cases people can exhibit signs of true addiction, similar to the behavior of people addicted to gambling.

Now, a new study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors indicates this form of “addiction” may actually be a symptom of other psychiatric disorders including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression.

Little research has been done on the conditions which can lead to video gaming addiction, which led Dr. Cecilie Schou Andreassen, a clinical specialist at the Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen (UiB), in Norway, to conduct a study exploring the underlying mechanisms behind this behavior.

“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.”

Andreassen says the development of video game addiction was highly similar to not only gambling addiction, but also more recent addictive behaviors like social media and texting. However, she noted the study shows sex differences between these ‘addictions’.

“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.

To identify video game addiction, the researchers recommended using seven criteria to evaluate gaming experiences in the past six months. Participants responded to each of these statements using a scale from ‘Never’ to ‘Very Often’:

According to the researcher, scoring highly on four or more of the seven criteria may indicate that gaming addiction is developing to the point it may impair health, work, school, or other social relations.

The authors of the study say they hope they findings will help parents and clinicians monitor the addictive use of technology before it takes hold, but they do say gaming addiction is not the norm for most people.

“Most people have a relaxed relationship to video games and fairly good control.”

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