Is it possible to become addicted to playing online games?
Yes, discovered a new study that claims excessive gambling can cause sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts in young people. According to phone interviews conducted between the years 2007 and 2015 of nearly 3,000 college students in the United States, about one in 20 suffers from “internet gaming disorder,” a mental illness characterized by excessive pleasure in electronic devices, both online and off.
College Students Suffer From Internet Gaming Disorders
A director of the Stanford University Sleep Epidemiology Research Center named Dr. Maurice Ohayon said, “Like with any habit, to be viewed as a dysfunction, internet gaming must create interruptions in regular lifelike feeling fatigued, not experiencing a feeling of quite rested, having depression, along with possessing a social phobia.”
What does that mean exactly? Is it accurate to say that video game disorder directly results in mental and physical health problems? No, stated Ohayon, who cautioned that there is not enough information available, and “no causal connection can be drawn.”
However, the researchers from the study concluded that “there were various signs of social isolation or loneliness among students with internet gaming disorder, including feeling depressed, having social anxiety, having few friends, and feeling disappointed about their social lives.” According to the study’s authors, 90% of Americans’ households are internet-connected, especially teens and young adults. Research into the potential downsides of heavy internet use began in the late 1990s. An official diagnosis of internet gaming disorder was included in the American Psychiatric Association’s updated diagnostic manual for 2013 due to that concern.
There is, however, some debate as to what makes excessive internet use a true addiction. “At the moment,” Ohayon said, internet gaming disorder is listed under diagnoses that require more research, “since it’s a relatively new issue with little data.”
The widespread nature of internet gaming disorder could explain why prevalence estimates are so varied, ranging from less than 1% to as high as more than 9% in the United States.
A group of Stanford University students was interviewed so that the team would get a better sense of the scope of the problem.
Approximately 75 minutes were spent interviewing each student. Those struggling with internet gaming disorder must use the internet or/and electronic devices 15 hours a week and have at least 5 behavioral issues. These include: not showing up to class on time; being guilty of using the Internet; failing to be ambitious or efficient; being careless; not sleeping well; becoming more and more upset, frustrated, or disappointed; using the Internet to forget about their worries, or lying to their parents about their online habits.
The researchers found almost 5.3% of the students that were interviewed got the disorder, with complete risk seen not much but were not found only among the boys. Psychiatry Research recently published the study online.
One of the psychiatrists (who was not in the research) said that the study was performed correctly and that it will also be helpful in the field of psychology. Dr. Petros Levounis also states that it is very important to understand that not all students who like using the internet have this addiction, just like not all the people drinking alcohol are alcoholics. He is the chair in the department of psychiatry at Rutgers Medical School.
He added that there could be many reasons behind the students using more internet and getting this disorder. Sometimes, they do not like socializing, so they go online too much, and sometimes because they might have the disorder of spending time online, he said. Levounis said that having the gaming disorder means their mind is always in that, and they will crave playing games. He also said that they know it is bad most of the time, but they cannot stop themselves from doing that. This kind of addiction can have serious problems; it can impact studies, jobs, personal lives, etc.
Levounis said that when dealing with addictions like this, it cannot be cured by medications, and we do not have any; however, the work will mostly involve cognitive-behavioral treatment and counseling to stimulate the patient to modify their habits.